Cllr Glen Sanderson is the leader of Northumberland County Council. Under his leadership in 2023 Northumberland schools were named the best in the North East. The council focused on delivering value for money, tackling inequalities, and growing the economy to create jobs. Glen reflects on 2023 and looks forward to the year ahead:
As we reflect on the year just passed, and look forward to 2024, I am profoundly grateful for the unwavering dedication of our remarkable staff across Northumberland County Council.
In 2023, staff have worked to deliver the essential services that underpin the daily lives of our communities, tackle inequalities across the county, and investing in Northumberland's economy to create jobs, all while striving to deliver value for money for taxpayers.
We have not and will not compromise on our commitment to frontline services. Despite budget challenges, frontline roles were protected in 2023, a pledge we were proud to guarantee for next year too.
Our collective efforts on critical issues have yielded tangible results. From expanding broadband access to investing in affordable housing, enhancing our road infrastructure, and providing compassionate care for our older and vulnerable youth, we have made significant strides.
This year’s Ofsted results across the county show our commitment to education in Northumberland is bearing fruit. When Northumberland Conservatives took control at County Hall in 2017, schools were low in the regional league tables, with only 74% of schools achieving ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ ratings. Today, our schools are the best the North East, with 94% good or outstanding. In 2024 we will double down on our commitment to creating world-class education facilities, having recently awarded £51 million contract for the construction of our new Superschool in Seaton Valley, with similar initiatives planned for Amble and Berwick.
In leisure, our commitment to enhancing community facilities across Northumberland is evident through major investments in various projects. Initiatives include the introduction of indoor bowls at the Berwick Leisure Centre and a new soft play area at the refurbished Wentworth Leisure Centre in Hexham. Cramlington has received targeted investment, and we are exploring innovative solutions for library facilities in Bedlington. Recently approved is a £1.5 million project to modernize Prudhoe Waterworld, contributing to our goal of providing high-quality facilities that promote healthy living and the grand opening of the multi-million-pound Morpeth Leisure Centre has positioned us among the leaders in leisure amenities nationwide.
Looking ahead to 2024, we embark on another year of ambition and excitement. The Northumberland Line is on track to open next year, evidence of the commitment of a Conservative Government working with a Conservative County Council to improve the prosperity of Northumberland.
Coupled with substantial investments in Blyth and Ashington, as well as a comprehensive strategy for towns across the County, I am filled with confidence for another year of high achievement for the Council. Our collective vision for a thriving, vibrant community is becoming a reality, and together, we will continue to build a better future for all.
Thank you, and let us stride into 2024 with optimism, purpose, and a shared commitment to the well-being of Northumberland.