THE leader of Newcastle Council yesterday set out how his £400m City Deal will transform conditions for the region's business community.
Nick Forbes told how he plans to use Government-backed powers to improve Newcastle’s economic environment and create thousands of jobs.
He told The Journal that he still wants to see transport issues tackled, and was actively lobbying for a transatlantic flight from Newcastle and the widening of the A1 Western Bypass.
And he said that it was important that businesses got the message about the “scale of the ambition we have in the city” – prompting yesterday’s high-profile meeting with business leaders.
“I wanted to do that in a very public way and to assure people that despite the difficult times that much of the public sector is facing, Newcastle is very much open for business,” he said.
“We’re investing a lot of money in infrastructure over the next three years, in particular £16m to ensure that businesses and residents can benefit from ultra-fast broadband.
“We will upgrade Newcastle Central Station to create a world-class gateway to the region and relieve congestion on the Western Bypass by widening it between the Angel of the North and Lobley Hill. We’re also working with the airport to try to bring about new trading links.
“We’re campaigning for a transatlantic flight that will help sustain and improve important business relations between the North East and America.
“The airport is the biggest economic driver that we have. In the last four years, since the Emirates flight to Dubai was introduced, trade to the region has increased by £150m a year.
“We think a transatlantic route would generate similar trading opportunities.”