Friday, 31 May 2013

We won’t ignore north of county, says new leader

New county council leader Grant Davey says the administration will seek to avoid a County Hall-centric policy.

The Labour administration now leading Northumberland County Council has vowed to make sure the rural north is not forgotten.

Council leader Grant Davey said: “We’re very conscious that the previous administration pursued a County Hall-centric policy  but we believe a unitary council doesn’t have to mean Morpeth makes all of the decisions.
“I’m also keen to make sure that we deliver first-class frontline services across the whole county and I’ve asked officers to come up with proposals that will help make this a reality.”
At the first meeting of the full council, three Independent councillors agreed to support the Labour group to form a majority administration for the authority.
Coun Davey was voted in as the new leader of the council and councillor Dave Ledger as the new deputy leader.
Coun Davey added: “We were elected to deliver affordable housing  for our communities and we’ll be building over 350 in the north of the county to tackle a housing waiting list of over 12,000.
“We’ll also be more proactively marketing our tourist destinations and we’ll be coming up with a Rural Action Plan which will look at how the authority can help new and existing businesses in tough economic times.
“We want to encourage new businesses and new jobs because we recognise it’s not good enough to have the lowest income per head in the region. We’ll be coming forward with a number of plans over the next six months which will kick-start Northumberland and we’re keen to work with communities, so our plan for free parking across the county will only be a reality if local communities say they want it.
“The coming years will throw up some tough challenges and it’s clear that government funding will continue to shrink, but I will be seeking to work with MPs and interested parties to make sure Northumberland’s voice, whether that’s north, south-east or west, is heard.
“We’re keen to work across the board and we’ve already demonstrated this by working with the newly-formed Independent group on the county council.”
In the north area, John Taylor and Dougie Watkin remain chair and vice chair of the planning committee, while the north area committee will be chaired by Steven Bridgett with Heather Cairns as vice chair.

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