NEWCASTLE’S first woman chief executive will be reviewing the city’s multi-million pound regeneration projects, she announced yesterday.
In her first week in the job, Pat Ritchie has told of her pride in returning to Newcastle Council as one of the region’s most senior public officials.
The new chief executive told The Journal that Newcastle is still a council with huge potential despite the local authority facing up to £100m of cuts, regular protests over the fate of front line services and a still-to-be-won green belt building battle.
Mrs Ritchie said her first task was to see through the council’s new budget. Once that is settled the chief executive has indicated she will be looking at all of the council’s major spending projects.
The council has several regeneration sites which have suffered between them years of delays and revised spending plans, and Ms Ritchie said she is keen to see movement.
She said: “It’s a great city with huge potential and a very dedicated council workforce. There are a number of big changes coming but we will still be focusing on growth, on creating jobs in the city.”
She added: “I will be having a real look at the major projects here to see if we can accelerate delivery.”
Mrs Ritchie comes to the council following a stint as head of the Government’s powerful Homes and Communities Agency. Her role there saw her help create Newcastle’s multi-million pound City Deal, set to pave the way for transformational regeneration projects, experience she will use in her review of the council’s big spending schemes.
Before the Homes and Communities job Mrs Ritchie was assistant chief executive at the since axed regional development agency One North East.
She added: “Government is increasingly clear it wants to devolve power to local authorities. My role in that regard is to work with others to ensure the North East gets those responsibilities.”