Durham County Council leader Simon Henig to head region-wide cooperation drive

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DURHAM County Council leader Simon Henig has been chosen to spearhead the drive to increase co-operation between the North East’s local authorities.

The creation of a new joint authority to oversee region-wide issues, such as planning and transport, was a key recommendation in Lord Adonis’s review carried out on behalf of the North East Local Enterprise Partnership.

Now, Chester-le-Street councillor Mr Henig has been appointed as chairman of the North East Leadership Board, the body set up to lead the creation of the new authority.

The regional authority will shadow the existing councils – Sunderland, Newcastle, Gateshead, North and South Tyneside, Durham and Northumberland – before taking over some responsibilities from them.

Coun Henig said: “As the Government has now launched the formal consultation, the board has taken the decision at the earliest point to go into shadow arrangement.

“This is the next stage in the journey of collaborative working.

“It is extremely important that we work together for the benefit of our economy, our businesses and our residents. This is a very important opportunity and I do not underestimate the work to be done.

“It is entirely appropriate that decisions about what is right for a region are made by the people who know it best.”