A petitioner has opened up a debate on the civic structure of the North East with a call for a return to the historic county of Northumberland.
Matthew Petts, originally from North Shields but now living in Kent, has launched a new petition via the Government’s website calling for a return to the pre-1974 borders to reform the historic county of Northumberland.
On the website, any valid petition that garners 10,000 signatures gets a response from the Government and any that gains 100,000 means that the issues will be considered for debate in Parliament.
His petition states: ‘Newcastle and North Tyneside used to belong to the historic county of Northumberland.
‘The Local Government Act 1972 created the existence of the metropolitan county of Tyne & Wear.
‘Tyne and Wear County Council was abolished in 1986 and so its districts are now unitary authorities (self-governed). The county of Tyne and Wear has virtually no relevance.
‘Therefore, the districts of Newcastle and North Tyneside could be absorbed back into the borders of Northumberland and still keep their unitary authority status.
‘The historical importance of Northumberland is extremely important to the people of Newcastle and North Tyneside. It is time to restore Northumbrian identity’.
All petitions on the Parliament website run for six months so ‘Restore Northumberland to its pre-1974 borders’ is available online until September 11.
Tyne and Wear came into existence in 1974 following the passage of the Local Government Act 1972.
It is made up of the metropolitan boroughs of South Tyneside, North Tyneside, Newcastle, Gateshead and Sunderland.
Prior to the reforms, the county boroughs of Tynemouth and Newcastle were in Northumberland, while Gateshead, South Shields and Sunderland were in Durham.
Tyne and Wear County Council was abolished in 1986, but the metropolitan county continues to exist in law and as a ceremonial county.