Four candidates will battle it out in next week’s Mayoral election on North Tyneside.
Voters go to the polls on Thursday to decide who will be the next Mayor.
The candidates are: John Appleby, Liberal Democrat; Stewart Hay, Conservative; Stuart Houghton, Ukip; and current Mayor Norma Redfearn, Labour.
JOHN APPLEBY, LIBERAL DEMOCRAT
I’m standing for Mayor again this year because I want North Tyneside to be the best-run, most responsive and fairest borough it can possibly be. I believe I have the ability, experience and vision to bring this about. Our Mayor chooses the Cabinet and decides on the finances. But it’s hard to ensure they do their job well unless others get to comment. That’s why councillors from other parties should chair important committees, such as housing and education.
Our current Mayor genuinely listens to people, which is great, but are you satisfied that the hard parts of the role are being done well, important when central government keeps cutting our funding? Is money spent on the most important things? Is new housing being built in the best places? Is school capacity being planned effectively? How is this borough working to build relationships with Europe and to preserve the environment?
I believe we should welcome more devolution to the North East to make this region more independent and dynamic. Lib Dems believe decisions should always be taken locally when possible, so within North Tyneside each ward should have more say in its own future. Both Labour and Conservatives like to centralise – just look at how the Prime Minister wants all of Brexit left to her alone!
I have many years’ experience of running a large and varied department with a multimillion-pound budget, balancing complex objectives in teaching and research and the interests of more than 1,000 people at Newcastle University.
I have been a Newcastle councillor in a disadvantaged area, trustee of several charities, school governor, union branch president and member of national church committees. I’m also a popular teacher and an excellent communicator. I believe I could do a great job as your Mayor, if you’ll give me your vote!
STEWART HAY, CONSERVATIVE
With Brexit approaching, the next four years are going to be crucial for North Tyneside.
Since I started my campaign to be the next Mayor of North Tyneside, I have been delighted by the public response to the three big issues facing our area – the Local Plan to build 3,000 houses around Murton and Shiremoor, ensuring our towns and coastline see regeneration and Brexit.
I am opposed to the Local Plan, proposed by the Labour council, to build over our precious green space around Murton and Shiremoor and will seek 11th-hour action from the Government to stop it.
All of North Tyneside is affected by this disastrous plan – from Killingworth to Whitley Bay – and it betrays all those who supported Labour at the last election.
Regeneration is important here. As a Whitley Bay resident I think back to my youth working in the amusements at Spanish City – times have changed but our ambition for the seafront should be as high as that famous Dome.
I want to ensure our town centres like Wallsend and Whitley Bay get the attention they need and make us proud.
Brexit is the hottest topic on the doorstep – elect a mayor who believes in our future free of the EU.
While I did not take part in the referendum campaign last year, I am the only candidate in this Mayoral election who supports Theresa May’s plan for Brexit, the only candidate who will work with our Government to ensure Brexit is a success for North Tyneside.
The Labour candidate campaigned to remain in the EU last year and will soon campaign to make Jeremy Corbyn Prime Minister! She can’t be trusted with the next crucial four years.
The benefits to our local fishing industry alone make Brexit a golden opportunity for North Tyneside. If you support Theresa May’s plan for Britain, vote for me on May 4 to help deliver it in North Tyneside.
STUART HOUGHTON, UKIP
Stuart Houghton is passionate about the North East, was born and raised in North Tyneside and is a proud Northerner. He is an advocate for many important local, political and social issues.
He was educated at Marden High School, left school at the age of 15, got a job serving a five-year apprenticeship as a glazier and worked throughout the North East. He later graduated from Northumbria University with a BA (Hons) degree and also from Leeds University with a Masters degree.
Stuart is a teacher of A-Level psychology and has also taught at degree level. He is a firm supporter of adult as well as children’s education. Stuart has experience of working for local authorities in both the education and social-service departments. He has also worked in business and extensively with charities. He is a strong believer in family values and the environment.
An active member of Ukip, Stuart has a keen interest in the betterment of the local area and wants nothing more than to see North Tyneside grow and prosper and be a place where people are proud to live. His ambition is to see North Tyneside as the flagship authority for others to follow because of the innovative ideas he can bring as the elected Mayor. As the elected Mayor he would put residents before politics and would be Accountable, Committed and Efficient in administering his duties. He will hold ward surgeries throughout the borough and these will be clearly publicised before hand to make it easy for the people of North Tyneside to contact him.
There are many areas that need immediate attention such as the amount of rubbish on the streets throughout the borough and the disgraceful state of our pavements and roads, including the cost of parking. These and many other areas of concern will be of top priority.
Stuart will promote a policy to create a meaningful skills training scheme to a certification level recognised by industry. He will fight for North Tyneside General Hospital A&E department to be open 24 hours a day and will be open and transparent on all expenditure during his duties as Mayor. He will also review council tax and business rates to attract new investment to our great North Tyneside.
He is an enthusiastic sports fan and supporter of local teams. In his spare time Stuart likes nothing better than walking his beagle dog Riley and relaxing at home with a good book.
Stuart lives in Monkseaton with his wife Susan.
NORMA REDFEARN, LABOUR
When you elected me, I pledged to listen to local people and local communities and to improve the way the council delivers your services.
You told me your priorities and I’ve been working hard to deliver them. When I’ve been out talking to local residents and businesses there’s a real excitement about the changes we’re seeing across our borough and a growing confidence about our future.
I’ve made the council more business-friendly and there are thousands more jobs and apprenticeships across our borough. As a former headteacher, I am passionate about education and I am proud that today our schools are among the best in the country.
Regeneration is happening at the coast and in Wallsend. We’ve got costed plans to make our town centres the vibrant heart of our local communities.
We’ve rebuilt or refurbished our sheltered homes for older people, brought back wardens and made North Tyneside a borough that respects the contribution older people make. Despite inherited Tory debts and ongoing Tory cuts, we’re reforming the way services are being delivered while protecting the most vulnerable in our community.
We’ve saved local libraries, leisure centres and weekly bin collections and cleaned up local parks and beaches. We’re making record investment in our roads and pavements.
Under my leadership, our successes have come through partnerships with local communities, local businesses and the voluntary sector across the borough. By working together we can achieve more than we can alone.
I set out to be a mayor for everyone. I’ve left behind the politics of negativity and division and I refuse to play party politics with the future of our borough. I want to build a North Tyneside that our children and grandchildren are proud to call home. To do so, I need your support on May 4.