THORNBURY’s incoming town clerk has said she is enjoying the challenge of learning the ropes, ahead of “critical” work to secure the town’s future.

Louise Powell, a Thornbury resident, and mother of two, takes over the role, as outgoing clerk Clare Nelmes leaves to go travelling with her husband.

Taking the lead through January, Mrs Nelmes will gradually hand responsibility over through February, before her departure.

During her 18-month tenure in the role, Mrs Nelmes has dealt with a range of major projects and issues in the town, including the start of the Neighbourhood Development Plan, aimed to give the town more control over the future growth of the town, and the ongoing debate over whether the Armstrong Hall facilities will be redeveloped or relocated.

“It’s good we have the handover time because there are a lot of high-priority projects going on right now, it is a critical time for the town and for the council,” she said.

“One of the main jobs that Louise has to look forward to is just keeping on top of the day-to-day and pushing the modernisation of the town council along.

“I have loved my time here in Thornbury, it is the best job I have ever had. I was really torn on giving it all up but the opportunity to go and travel – I couldn’t say no.”

As a former mayor of Dursley, Mrs Nelmes had experience of local politics before coming into the role. This is something she shares with her successor, given Mrs Powell’s extensive experience as a former civil servant who has worked in helping regeneration in councils for many years.

“I wanted to get back into community work,” said the incoming clerk, “and when I saw the job advert, I realised what an incredible opportunity it would be, as a Thornbury resident, to make a difference in the place I live.

“The transition is going well so far. There is a lot to learn and a lot to pick up on but I am keeping on top of it.

“It is very daunting but I like a challenge. I plan to learn as much as I can from those who are already involved to make sure I am as informed as possible.”