A SINGLE vote has decided the identity of the new mayor of St Ives in an election that split the town council down the middle.
In St Ives mayors usually succeed each other smoothly, but mutterings on the council benches began when it was revealed that a relative newcomer had been asked to stand.
Linda Taylor was a surprise candidate after being on the council for just one year.
She beat longstanding member Joan Tanner by one vote at last week's mayor-choosing.
Andrew Mitchell, who left the meeting along with Richard Birch immediately after the result of the vote was announced, said he would be "considering his position" after the vote.
No rules stipulate the minimum time a councillor must serve before standing for mayor, but there has long been a feeling in St Ives that the honour should go to someone 'time-served'.
Mrs Taylor, one of the five Lelant and Carbis Bay councillors, said: "I was asked to stand and would not have put myself forward.
"However, once decided I became 100 per cent committed and feel extremely proud to follow in the footsteps of history."
The new mayor-elect, who takes office on May 19, lives in Leedstown with her husband Steve, a retired police inspector.
She has been branch manager of the HSBC bank in Penzance and St Ives for a number of years.
Mrs Taylor was born in St Ives and attended local schools. Her mother and brother still live in the town.
She has previously been a district councillor in Kerrier and chairman and president of a range of charitable groups.
Her election has overshadowed the fact that current mayor Colin Nicholls has decided to stand down after just one year, passing up the usual second term for a combination of work and health reasons.
He said: "I would have loved to carry on if I wasn't working.
"I made significant changes in my first 12 months; I've made it a more efficient council, I altered the committee structure and now we have civic deputies.
"I enjoyed doing it very much but it takes a lot of effort and energy. I think I'm being very sensible and letting someone else have a go."
Backing the new mayor-elect, he said: "Linda will be good; she's got managerial experience, she's a local person, she comes from the town, she's working in the town and she's got bags of energy.
"I'm looking forward to working with her and trust all the councillors and council staff will put any differences aside and give her their fullest support for the benefit of the community of St Ives. We're a small town with a big reputation and we need dynamic councillors."