United Front; Key to Success Ispresenting A.: AROUND 2,000 Responses Have So Far Been Received in the Evening Gazette's Major Survey on the Question of the Area's Identity. Today the Chairman of the Public-Private Sector Body Which Aims to Drive Forward Economic Development in the Area and a Long Serving Middlesbrough Councillor Give Their Views on the Issue

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Byline: SANDY ANDERSON

TEESSIDE, Tees Valley, Cleveland, Durham? I expect that as the chairman of Tees Valley Unlimited (TVU) people might expect me to have a firm view but I believe what's critical nowisn't what we choose to call ourselves - it's what we can achieve by working together.

A quick look back at what has been achieved under the umbrella of the Tees Valley in recent years proves the case: The development of the process industries, through SABIC's investment in the world's largest polyethylene plant, the expansion of biofuels, biotechnology and advanced engineering, such as maritime engineering in Hartlepool; The growth of container traffic through Teesport and the establishment of national import centres at the port; The continued growth of the service sector at Teesdale, Wynyard, Darlington and Middlesbrough; The regeneration of town centres, the development of Middlehaven and the creation of a digital/multimedia cluster at Boho, and The provision of the infrastructure necessary to take the city region forward, through the development of the two universities, new colleges, creation of the Centre for Process Innovation and the work towards a transport network.

Are we suffering from an identity crisis? Well, I normally associate a crisis with the words serious and threatening. What we have here is an interesting subject for debate.

Urgent action is needed to secure jobs and investment and arguing over what we're called is probably irrelevant to that objective.

Does the Tees Valley exist? Yes, it does. It is a geographical description that defines the area covered by the boundaries of the five local authorities who work together.

But local authority areas aren't islands - residents travel to work, study or shop outside their local authority area and it makes sense for the areas to work together. …