THE elected mayor of North Tyneside, Norma Redfearn CBE is to serve as the interim mayor for the newly formed North of Tyne Combined Authority (NTCA).
Redfearn was appointed by the combined authority’s cabinet to act as its figurehead until May 2019, when the first mayoral election is held in Newcastle, North Tyneside and Northumberland.
A directly elected mayor will then take office with powers and responsibilities over economic growth, skills, housing policy, and enhancing places and communities across the North of Tyne area.
“This is an exciting time for anyone living and working in the North of Tyne area,” Redfearn said. “As a long-time advocate for devolution in this part of the country, I feel we now have the tools we need to shape our own destiny, capitalise on our economic strengths, and build an economy that delivers for everyone and leaves no community behind.
“Our vision sets out how we will make North of Tyne the home of ambition. It deals with issues that touch on every aspect of people’s lives and sets out our priorities for the future.
“To achieve these things, we must have transparency, openness, and accountability, and we must ensure that all our people have the opportunity to get involved in making change happen and more importantly a share in the benefits.
“I am proud to be asked to oversee the authority during this interim period, as we work to lay the foundations for a bright new future.”
The leaders of the other two constituent authorities welcomed the appointment.
“Norma is a perfect person to lead the combined authority into this new era. She is a tireless champion of our communities and always has the region’s best interest at heart,” said Councillor Nick Forbes, leader of Newcastle City Council.
“Our task now is to get on with creating more and better jobs in our part of the north, and I know Norma as interim mayor will be a great asset to us in this mission.”
Council Peter Jackson, leader of Northumberland County Council, added: “I’m delighted we’ve taken another key step as we move forward in progressing our priorities.
“Mayor Redfearn has a wealth of experience in local government and has been one of the key drivers in securing devolution for the North of Tyne.
“This appointment will mean we can now focus squarely on delivering a range of improvements and investment for the communities we serve with all three councils working in a positive spirit of cooperation.”
Norma Redfearn was elected mayor of North Tyneside in 2013 and re-elected for a further four years in May 2017, becoming the first person to hold the position for two consecutive terms.
Image: Nick Forbes, Norma Redfearn, Peter Jackson