‘Super council’ holds its first meeting

Sunderland City Council leader Paul Watson.
Sunderland City Council leader Paul Watson.
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LEADERS of the seven North East local authorities are coming together today for the first meeting of the so-called super council, which is expected to come into force today or tomorrow.

Having been debated in Grand Committee and passed by both the Commons and the Lords, ratification by ministers is said to be imminent. The unwieldy-named Durham, Gateshead, Newcastle upon Tyne, North Tyneside, Northumberland, South Tyneside and Sunderland (DGNNTNSTS) Combined Authority will then come into existence the following day.

Today’s meeting at Durham County Hall, is expected to be short and deal with legal formalities, including confirmation of the membership of the North East Leadership Board (NELB) and appointment of a chairman and vice chairman, the appointment of chief officers and delegation of transport functions.

Sunderland City Council leader Paul Watson said: “It is a legal requirement to have the first meeting as soon as practicable, either the day it’s ratified or the day after, so we are doing it as a matter of priority to perform the legal necessities and appointing temporary officers, until we are up and running properly.

“It’s great to see it actually there and physically taking place after all the time it has taken to get the Is dotted and Ts crossed. We are confident we’ve now got a robust set-up, with good foundations, and that parliament has given us the powers that we need.”