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North Tyneside Council agrees North East devolution deal

North Tyneside Council has confirmed it is prepared to sign up to the North East devolution agreement to establish the North East Combined Authority.

The decision was made at a council meeting tonight.

“For too long decisions about this region and our residents have been made in London by people who don’t necessarily understand the needs of our communities.

“Here in North Tyneside we want important decisions about this region to be taken here in the north east, not in London. We want the power to invest in our own economy and create jobs. We also want to have better regulation of our local transport, including setting bus fares and bus routes; and making sure that skills funding is targeted at local business needs.

– Elected Mayor Norma Redfearn

Milestone for Wallsend Town Centre

The regeneration of Wallsend town centre will reach a key milestone in the next few weeks as the new Customer First Centre opens its doors.

The new facility is part of the revamp of the Wallsend Forum and adjacent area, to create a new vibrant centre for the town.

And it will give local people better access to North Tyneside Council services – as well as a state-of-the-art library.

The new Wallsend Customer First Centre is due to be handed over to North Tyneside Council at the end of this month.

The Council will then relocate both the library and customer service centres – and staff - into the new facility which will open to the public a few weeks later.

Elected Mayor, Norma Redfearn:

“The Customer First Centre will create a key focal point, as part of the refurbishment of Wallsend Forum, and will help give a new lease of life to the centre of Wallsend."

New Wallsend Library Credit: North Tyneside Council

Mayor "extremely disappointed" after dome work stalls

Work to regenerate Whitley Bay's Spanish City Dome has stalled due to a lack of funding.

Norma Redfearn, elected Mayor of North Tyneside, said:

"It's extremely disappointing that the regeneration of the building has stalled and we were refused funding earlier in the year.

"As elected mayor I promise to listen to what residents had to say and that's why I am asking them to help us to secure the dome's future and show us how strongly they want the dome to be finished.

"I'm determined not to give up on it - it's an iconic landmark, it's part of our heritage but most of all it's very important to local people."

– Norma Redfearn, elected Mayor of North Tyneside

Residents of North Tyneside are now being urged to lobby the Heritage Lottery Fund by filling out postcards, forms and online petitions calling on the dome to be awarded financial support


Council to oppose Tynemouth school merger

North Tyneside Council has decided to challenge a Government decision to allow a controversial merger between Kings School and Priory Primary in Tynemouth.

Councillor Ian Grayson, Cabinet Member for Children, Young People and Learning said:

"This is a legal process and not something we are entering into lightly. There was a thorough and robust debate at council and all the details were examined before this decision was taken.

"It is clear that the Secretary of State got his facts wrong when assessing the surplus places at nearby Marden High School and the major impact this academy will have on other secondary schools in the area.

"The council and cabinet were also extremely concerned about the £5million debt that Kings School owes to its creditors.

"We had previously asked the Secretary of State for an assurance that should the academy go ahead this debt would be paid by the Woodard Trust and not paid for by the taxpayer.

"Unfortunately this assurance has not been forthcoming and the Secretary of State has stated that he has agreed to fund the existing loan and overdraft of Kings School by securing a charge against the assets of the Woodward Corporation on land and buildings in Tynemouth. He asserts that this represents 'good value for money'.

"So, while we appreciate that this is an extremely unsettling time for the parents of children at Priory Primary and at Kings School we believe it would be wrong to allow our concern for them to override our duty to all 30,000 children in our schools.

"We have reassured parents of children at Priory Primary that no child will be left without a school place in North Tyneside in September and that will still be the case. Priory is an excellent local authority maintained school and would continue to be part of the local authority provision."

– Cllr Ian Grayson, North Tyneside Council

The council added that it will consider requesting a judicial review of the decision if a satisfactory response is not received.

Council to challenge school merger plans

North Tyneside Council is set to challenge a Government decision to allow a controversial merger between a state-funded primary and an independent school.

The Department for Education has given the go-ahead for the King's School in Tynemouth to combine and form an academy with Priory Primary. However, at a special meeting tonight the council has decided to oppose the plans over fears of the impact the move will have on the borough's 30,000 children.

The council has confirmed that it will now request that the Secretary of State for Education, Michael Gove, reconsiders the proposals.

Victory for street gardeners in council row

Rockcliffe Avenue, Whitley Bay Credit: ITV news

Gardeners in Whitley Bay are celebrating after being told they can keep the pots and plants that brighten their street.

Last month they were told the flowers had to go - because they were a health and safety risk.

Since then, two thousand people signed a petition to keep Rockcliffe Avenue blooming.

Today, Michael Kelley, who led the campaign, met with North Tyneside mayor Norma Redfearn.

They agreed the plants can stay.

The residents of Rockcliffe Avenue have filled their street with flowers. Credit: ITV news

Mike said: "It's a victory for Rockcliffe Avenue, it's a victory for Whitley Bay, and for everyone who signed the petition."

In a statement, the council said an "amicable agreement" had been reached.

A spokesman said: "The council will be working with Mr Kelley and residents to put in place a revised scheme which will allow the planters to remain, but each resident in the street will be able to opt in or opt out of the scheme.

“Letters will be sent to residents soon."

The street gardeners say the blooms have brought the community together. Credit: ITV news