Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

We Cannot Let the Gap Open Up Again; Regional Affairs Correspondent ADRIAN PEARSON Talks to Lord Beecham about the New Challenges That Are Facing the North East

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

We Cannot Let the Gap Open Up Again; Regional Affairs Correspondent ADRIAN PEARSON Talks to Lord Beecham about the New Challenges That Are Facing the North East

Article excerpt

SOME three decades ago the region set up the Northern Development Company and announced bickering and back stabbing were a thing of the past.

As development agency One North East is wound down one of the region's leading peers has called for a united return to those glory days.

Former Newcastle Council leader Jeremy Beecham has said the coalition Government's attempts to abolish any and all regional bodies has lead to the old divides reappearing.

Lord Beecham, who helped set up the Northern Development Company which successfully attracted industry from across the world to the North East, has called on councils to once again push for a regional-led united effort.

Just last week members of the offshore wind industry saw for themselves how a divided North East would lose out as thousands of turbine manufacturing jobs went to Hull instead of Tyneside.

It is thought Siemens snubbed the region because there was no clear leadership trying to offer its full support.

This, Lord Beecham has said, is a worrying return to days he thought were long since gone - when council bosses refused to even hear another borough's views.

He said: "I recall the then leader of Gateshead proclaiming, at a time when it seemed that local councils might be involved in local radio that 'nobody in Gateshead could possibly be interested in anything broadcast from Newcastle'. "And in 1983 when I promoted the idea of the Northern Regional Councils Association, now known as the Association of North East Councils, I felt constrained to circulate the paper proposing the idea anonymously through the leader of Northumberland, lest people reacted against what they might have perceived as a bid by Newcastle to take over the region."

A return to those conflicts became obvious when the region's 12 councils argued amongst themselves over their involvement in the Government's Local Enterprise Partnerships.

Hopes of having one united voice in Whitehall were dashed as leaders refused to work together. Last year the Government intervened and ordered councils to set up just two, down from the five suggested. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.