Feeding back: Councillor Richard Wearmouth on the Northumbrian economy

Economic regeneration is critical to helping us create a county that works for everyone in Northumberland. Richard Wearmouth is our cabinet member for the economy. He talks below about the job so far....

The next four years have the potential to transform Northumberland. Our new Conservative council aims to fast track economic regeneration across the county.

The previous administration has an embarrassing record on economic regeneration. Instead of investing to create jobs, they wasted public money on madcap schemes such as the purchase of Manor Walks shopping centre, and moving County Hall from Morpeth to Ashington. These plans created no new jobs and wasted millions.

I am determined that we won't do the same. Instead we will make real investments to improve our towns and villages, and make Northumberland an exciting place to do business.

To that end we have had a busy few months and to give just a flavour of our progress to date we have;

- Set up a regeneration commission in Berwick to help drive investment in the town;

- fast tracked the redevelopment of Bedlington Town centre;

- consulted on the future of Portland Park in Ashington to make sure we see proper town centre regeneration;

- started to examine the refurbishment of county hall in morpeth after years of neglect;

- pushed ahead with projects in Amble to deliver new jobs including securing investment in a new hotel;

- put in place plans to improve rural broadband;

- sought road and junction improvements in Cramlington to ensure the town keeps moving; and

- promoted the Ashington Blyth Tyne rail link with the aim of securing train services by 2021

In seeking to achieve our aims we are very fortunate to have had backing from our Conservative government. The government backed A1 improvement works continue to advance, whilst we are confident of a devolution deal for the North of Tyne and financial backing for the "borderlands initiative" in the coming months.