A GREAT new future for Croydon is emerging, the borough's new mayor, Councillor Yvette Hopley said in her inaugural speech.
Cllr Hopley was elected at the annual meeting of Croydon Council held on Monday, taking over from Cllr Eddie Arram, and stressed the importance of Westfield and Hammerson's £1 billion retail partnership in helping the regeneration of the town.
"I do feel confident that we do have a great future here in Croydon," said Cllr Hopley.
"With Westfield and Hammerson we are going to see a changed face of Croydon; their plans are going to bring so much inward investment."
Cllr Hopley takes on the role in the lead up to an election year.
In proposing her as mayor, council leader Mike Fisher said: "It is always a difficult year when there is an election.
"Members can get a bit more excitable and we need somebody with the necessary skills of diplomacy and fairness to conduct meetings.
"We are going to have some interesting times," said Cllr Hopley, 52, adding: "I am going to be firm and fair."
The new mayor has chosen as her two charities for the year, the South East Cancer Help Centre based in Purley and the British Heart Foundation.
She has been a councillor, representing Sanderstead Ward, since 2006.
In taking on her new position she has given up a number of jobs including deputy cabinet member for finance, asset management and performance, chair of the audit committee and vice-chair of the pension committee.
Cllr Hopley has also been made a member of the council's scrutiny and overview committee.
She has lived in Croydon all her life and before entering local politics worked for an American oil company. After the birth of her daughter, Natasha, in 1987, she started a new company in the field of antique ceramics.
Cllr Hopley will accompanied on events by her partner, Christopher Jeffery.
Purley councillor Badsha Quadir has been chosen as deputy mayor.