Regeneration body re-appoints chairman

The Advertiser Series: STAYING ON: Paul Woolston will continue as chairman of the North East Local Enterprise Partnership STAYING ON: Paul Woolston will continue as chairman of the North East Local Enterprise Partnership

A REGENERATION organisation has re-appointed its chairman for another three years.

Paul Woolston will continue in his role at the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (NELep).

Under his leadership, NELep previously unveiled plans to create up to 100,000 jobs and arm more young people with skills for the workplace.

The blueprint would see the area support more than one million jobs by 2024.

Its proposals also aim to give regional decision-makers greater control over public funding pots through a North East Development and Investment Fund.

The plan, called More and Better Jobs: A Strategic Economic Plan for the North East, builds on the recommendations of last year's Independent Economic Review chaired by Lord Andrew Adonis.

Mr Woolston said: “In the next three years and beyond, the implementation of the plan will be one of NELep’s main focuses.

“Building on the Adonis Review, it has a clear, cohesive strategy to propel long-term growth and channel future investment most effectively.

“In NELep’s first three years, we have also introduced the North East Investment Fund, which has provided millions of pounds in loans and investments for regional companies.”

Mr Woolston said NELep was the only area to have two City Deals in place after Newcastle City Council won a £92m investment to create 13,000 jobs in 2012, and a bid from Sunderland City Council and South Tyneside Council, which includes plans for a new business park west of the A19, was approved.

He said: “I was involved in the detail of putting together the North East Strategic Economic Plan and I’m delighted my re-appointment means I’ll be among those putting the plan into action.

“There are a number of exciting initiatives in the pipeline, but ensuring this ambitious plan is bedded in will be absolutely essential to our future regional prosperity.

“Chairing NELep is a huge honour and responsibility.

“We have achieved a great deal in our first three years, and still have much to do in the future to reach our ambitious targets for growth and productivity.”

Andrew Hodgson, NELep vice-chairman and chief executive of Wallsend-based Soil Machine Dynamics, praised Mr Woolston’s work.

He added: “Paul’s extraordinary commitment has been behind our successes and progress since inception.

“He has built influential, interlinking contacts at national, international and regional levels which help to oil the wheels of change.

“We are delighted he will be at the helm for the next three years.”

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