The Labour administration now leading Northumberland County Council has vowed to make sure the rural north is not forgotten.
Council leader Grant Davey said: “We’re very conscious that the previous administration pursued a County Hall-centric policy, but we believe a unitary council doesn’t have to mean Morpeth makes all of the decisions.
“I’m also keen to make sure that we deliver first-class frontline services across the whole county and I’ve asked officers to come up with proposals that will help make this a reality.
“We were elected to deliver affordable housing for our communities and we’ll be building over 350 in the north of the county to tackle a housing waiting list of over 12,000.
“We’ll also be more proactively marketing our tourist destinations and we’ll be coming up with a Rural Action Plan which will look at how the authority can help new and existing businesses in tough economic times.
“We want to encourage new businesses and new jobs because we recognise it’s not good enough to have the lowest income per head in the region. We’ll be coming forward with a number of plans over the next six months which will kick-start Northumberland and we’re keen to work with communities, so our plan for free parking across the county will only be a reality if local communities say they want it.
“The coming years will throw up some tough challenges and it’s clear that Government funding will continue to shrink, but I will be seeking to work with MPs and interested parties to make sure Northumberland’s voice, whether that’s north, south-east or west, is heard.
“We’re keen to work across the board and we’ve already demonstrated this by working with the newly-formed Independent group on the county council.”