A report to Cabinet last week detailed all of the significant progress that has been made to ensure North Tyneside is thriving, family-friendly, caring, secure and green.
Against the backdrop of the rising cost-of-living and recovery from the pandemic, North Tyneside Council is achieving many of its ambitions – to create an even better borough for its residents, businesses and visitors.
And at a meeting of Cabinet last week (21 September), cabinet members heard the progress that has been made in achieving the aims of its overarching Our North Tyneside council plan, while also acknowledging the pressures facing the authority, its residents and businesses.
From supporting low-income households, regenerating areas across the borough, significantly slashing its carbon footprint to building and creating new homes, there have been many key accomplishments.
North Tyneside Elected Mayor, Norma Redfearn CBE said: “Through the Our North Tyneside plan, we are delivering the key aims of my election manifesto; to be a borough that is thriving, family-friendly, caring, secure and green. I am delighted with all of the achievements we have made for the benefit of our communities, but we are in no way complacent.
“We are a council that is ambitious for all areas of our borough, that cares for our residents and continues to help them through these turbulent financial times and supports our local businesses.
“Most importantly, at the heart of the plan is our vision to not only recover from the pandemic but build back stronger and to help our communities through the cost-of-living crisis. We are determined that the inequality gap in our borough does not widen further, and we are directing resources to help those most in need of our support.”
Families are benefiting through a comprehensive package of support designed to address inequalities, tackle the impacts of poverty, and help with the current cost of living crisis for those on the lowest incomes. It includes its Holiday Activities and Food Programme, Household Support Fund, Poverty Intervention Fund, Council Tax Support Scheme and Hardship Support Scheme.
Support through the various schemes has seen supermarket vouchers provided directly to the lowest income families to help with food costs during every school holiday since December 2020; free hot meals for over 8,000 older residents; support with fuel costs, school uniform and clothing; together with expert help on benefits and dealing with debt.
Other innovative initiatives have seen a network of food pantries, clubs and community supermarkets opened so that residents can access free or low-cost food.
Homes are warmer thanks to funding for boiler repairs and replacements, and 500 extra households will benefit from greener and warmer homes after the council successfully secured millions of pounds of Government funding to install low carbon heating, energy efficiency and renewable energy systems – with 260 already completed.
Another key focus of the Our North Tyneside plan is working towards being carbon net zero by 2030. And impressively, through a range of initiatives, the council’s carbon emissions have reduced by 53 per cent, well in advance of its 2023 target, and its set out its future projects in its recently published Carbon Net Zero 2030 action plan.
In response to public concerns about community safety, a multi-agency anti-social behaviour taskforce has also been created, and it is already making a difference to residents, communities, visitors and businesses.
Working closely with partners, in particular Northumbria Police and Nexus, the council has been running operations to issue legal notices to tenants whose children cause anti-social behaviour and running diversionary activities, as well as helping to combat problems on the Metro network, directing resources over the summer to keep the coastline safe and clean, and it has secured funding to make improvements in its parks and open spaces where anti-social behaviour occurs.
Milestones have been reached in the ambitious regeneration projects in North Shields, which have seen Northumberland Square restored back to its former Georgian-era appearance, the creation of a cultural quarter, and work is underway on a new transport hub and the development of housing sites. Plans have also taken a step forward to create a riverside embankment walkway, better connecting the town centre to the vibrant Fish Quay.
With substantial plans to enhance areas across the borough, as well as recently submitting a bid
to the Government’s Levelling Up Fund for the Fish Quay, the council has also asked for funding for public realm improvements on Wallsend’s High Street, improved transport connections and further upgrades to Segedunum Roman Fort and Museum. A masterplan is being drawn up by the authority to support the work, as well as a masterplan in development for the North West of the borough.
While in Whitley Bay, the northern section of the Northern Promenade has undergone a revamp and it too will have a masterplan developed for town centre improvements.
Progress has also been made in its affordable homes programme, with almost 2,000 homes created and its 10-year delivery plan to create 5,000 in total is on track.
And the education offer in the borough continues to be strong compared to other areas both nationally and regionally.
Attached photo: North Tyneside Elected Mayor Norma Redfearn CBE