Marlow’s town council is set for a restructure, with a new leader and deputy leader being appointed from May this year.

Former mayor Cllr Jocelyn Towns will take on the new role, while current mayor Chris Funnell will take on the deputy leader role.

The council said there was an “increasing need” to introduce the leader to work alongside the mayor to “respond to the challenges” of the new Buckinghamshire Council, which will come into force in April 2020.

Councillors said at a full council meeting last week: “The adoption of the continually developing Marlow vision/strategy and the strong probability of further devolved services from the proposed new Buckinghamshire Unitary Council after April 2020 will require strong leadership and direction.

“In order to deliver these changes, the town council considers that there is an increasing need to introduce the leader role to work alongside the mayor to respond to these challenges and to the growing needs of our community.

“Separating the role of leader from that of the mayor to achieve these objectives has been successfully adopted by a number of other town councils over recent years.

“It is considered that this introduction would be an advantage to the council and residents by separating the civic role from that of the leadership of the council.”

Currently the mayor takes on the joint role, but the council said the role has proved to be “increasingly time consuming”, adding that the transfer of non-civic roles to a leader “might provide opportunities for those members with less time to carry out the important mayoral function”.

The mayor represents the town of Marlow and its parish with the insignia and chains of office. The mayor and deputy mayor are elected by the council at the Annual General Meeting in May each year.

On behalf of the town council, the mayor attends civic and ceremonial functions within the town and the wider community while a leader leads the decision-making process at councillor level and liaises with the town clerk on those issues, forward plans and matters of policy or strategic direction.

The leader also directs and assists the policies of the council to be implemented while the mayor can share the views and concerns of the community with the council, and take the council’s message out into the community while working on achieving the council’s social, educational and economic aims.

Cllr Richard Scott will take over as new mayor while Cllr Bob Johnson will become the deputy mayor.