Concerns voiced as Sunderland lined up to join North East ‘super council’

Coun Peter Wood
Coun Peter Wood
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A SUNDERLAND transport chief has urged the Government to be cautious over plans for a North East ‘super council’.

Seven local authorities from across the North East will today submit their final response to a proposed combined authority to cover the region to the Government.

In his capacity as the leader of the opposition at the Tyne and Wear Integrated Transport Authority (ITA), Sunderland councillor Peter Wood has written to communities and local government secretary Eric Pickles to voice his concerns.

Coun Wood said: “Recognising that there are services – including transport – better planned and provided on a wider basis, we are not opposed to the principle of establishing a combined authority. It would be beneficial for the North East to be able to speak with one voice.”

The combined authority would wholly replace the ITA, bringing together responsibility for strategic transport, economic development and regeneration, across Durham, Northumberland and Tyne and Wear.

Sunderland’s decision on whether to join the ‘super council’ will be made by city council leader Paul Watson and chief executive Dave Smith.

Coun Woods wrote: “There are some concerns we share arising from the fact that the combined authority will not be directly elected and could result in one political party holding a monopoly of power.

“We believe that members of all the major political parties in the region must be involved in the operation of the combined authority from the beginning if it is to be successful and the north east.”