AS members of both houses of Westminster continue to discuss the inception of the forthcoming “super council” for the North East, its name has been branded a mouthful.
The Durham, Gateshead, Newcastle upon Tyne, North Tyneside, Northumberland, South Tyneside and Sunderland (DGNNTNSTS) Combined Authority Order was debated in grand committee on Monday, and was yesterday before both the House of Lords and the House of Commons.
It will come into effect the day after ministers have given their seal of approval, which could happen as soon as tomorrow.
It had originally been expected that the council would be called the North East Combined Authority, but the Government insisted on the unwieldy name after concerns from outsiders Teesside that it could cause confusion.
But Sunderland Tory councillor Peter Wood, who sits on the soon-to-be-defunct Tyne and Wear Integrated Transport Authority (ITA), thinks the name should be shortened.
“I think that it’s far too much of a mouthful,” he said. “People aren’t going to call it that. I thought they might call it the North East Combined Authority.
“I know that our friends and cousins in Teesside are not going to be a hundred per cent happy with that, but why not if it’s good enough for the North East LEP (Local Enterprise Partnership)?
“People aren’t going to call it the Durham, Gateshead, Newcastle upon Tyne, North Tyneside, Northumberland, South Tyneside and Sunderland etc etc. I think it should be something short and snappy, that you can say in a flash.”
As previously reported, Coun Wood has concerns over the lack of political balance within the combined authority, the committee of which will have no place for members of opposition parties. There is a danger, he says, that the message it sends out to people is not one of unity.
“All political parties should be involved,” Coun Wood added. “It will enable the region to speak with one voice.”