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November 2021

Friday 26 November 2021

On Monday morning I was joined by Deputy Leader, Councillor Jim Beall, for an online Cabinet Leaders briefing with the Council’s Managing Director, Julie Danks. This included an update on Bright Minds Big Futures (BMBF). Managed by Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council, working with representatives from Public Health, the project has been helping local children cope with these times of uncertainty.

As chair of the Tees Valley Combined Authority’s Employment, Education and Skills Board (EES) I was then briefed by Shona Duncan of the TVCA ahead of next month’s board meeting. One of the items due on the agenda is a very welcome report on increasing numbers of apprenticeships in our region.

I then had a useful online update from the Council’s Assistant Director of Administration, Democratic and Electoral Services, Margaret Waggott, which included a report due to go before Cabinet on how Local Authorities can develop their Environmental Sustainability and Carbon Reduction strategies going forward.

On Tuesday morning I attended a Statutory Licensing Committee Meeting, which was held in person at the Jim Cooke conference suite.

This was followed by an online webinar event, Future Development Plans – Tees Valley, where I gave a presentation on regeneration in the Borough, including the exciting plans for Stockton’s waterfront development and how this will contribute to our High Street economy.

I then met virtually with Gary Cummings, the Council’s Director of Finance, Development & Business Services, for an update on our Medium Term Financial Plan.

I also joined Margaret Waggott, Assistant Director of Administration, Democratic and Electoral Services, to discuss issues which fall within her area plus any business coming forward for consideration.

On Wednesday morning I joined fellow councillors and MPs from across the region for an update on the ongoing work to restore the Bilsdale TV and radio mast, which caught fire in the summer, and the future plans to restore the mast which transmits to homes in our area.

The afternoon began with the monthly meeting of the Tees Valley Leaders, via Microsoft Teams. This was followed by a regular catch up with Katie Gallagher, the Authority’s School and Governor Support Officer.

It was then my great pleasure to officially receive the Ministry of Defence’s (MOD) Gold Award on behalf of Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council and as Armed Forces Champion. The award recognises employers who support serving members of the armed forces as well as veterans and their families. The Gold is the highest honour, and is recognition for our ongoing work to support the Armed Forces Community as well as our commitment to an Armed Forces Covenant. The award was then presented to the full meeting of Council on Wednesday evening at the Baptist Tabernacle.

The busy week continued on Thursday with a briefing on proposals for a potential new retail business in Norton. This was followed by a virtual meeting with the City Regions Board of the Local Government Association (LGA) to hear about growth, transport infrastructure, skills and wider public service reform in ‘city regions’ like the Tees Valley.

I then met Paul Jenkins, Executive Director of Assets at Thirteen Group, to hear all about Thirteen’s new 5 Year Investment Plan and what it means for homes in Stockton.

This morning I again met with Margaret Waggott, Assistant Director of Administration, Democratic and Electoral Services, for an update on the ongoing Boundary Review by The Local Government Boundary Commission (LGBC), and how it might affect our Borough in future elections.

Throughout the week I also caught up with some of the political group leaders from across the Council to brief them on relevant updates and the work we are doing across the Borough.

I’m looking forward to spending the next couple of days with my family and seeing how Middlesbrough get on in what could be a tough away match against Huddersfield. Hopefully new manager Chris Wilder can record his first win following the disappointing midweek result against Preston.