THE MAYOR of Tees Valley has set out his ambitions for the coming year.

High of on Ben Houchen’s to-do list is his plan to launch a review into Cleveland Police following a series of high-profile legal cases and scandals affecting the force.

Other targets on his plan of action includes continuing his efforts to bring Durham Tees Valley Airport into public ownership and getting work started on regenerating the former SSI site in Redcar.

Throughout his election campaign, the Conservative Mayor called for the disbanding of Cleveland Police claiming it had lost all credibility.

And now he has confirmed his intends investigate the force.

He said: "As for my major election commitment on Cleveland Police, I will also launch an independent review this year."

And Cleveland's Police and Crime Commissioner Barry Coppinger said: “Where there are areas of mutual interest, I have always adopted a partnership approach embracing public, private and voluntary sectors to ensure the sharing of best practice to improve efficiency and effectiveness for the public.

“I am happy to include the leaders of the Tees Valley Combined Authority and elected Mayor Ben Houchen, in such discussions."

On a more positive note, Mr Houchen says he is looking forward to promoting the area.

He said: “As Mayor, I have been opening doors previously closed to us to secure additional resources and supporting views for Tees Valley’s plans. We are punching above our weight and we’re starting to see the benefits.

“In the Chancellor’s Autumn Budget, we were handed £123million of new money to start remediation works on the South Tees Development Corporation site in Redcar."

And the Mayor is looking to finalise and submit a bid for new Darlington bypass and new Tees Crossing to improve transport links across the area.

“I am committed to ensuring the area has a strong economy which drives growth, and building the infrastructure we need for such regeneration to succeed," he said. "That’s why this year I’ll be finalising our bid to Government for a new bypass around Darlington, and a new Tees Crossing to relieve congestion on the A19. People have been talking about these projects for decades, now it’s time for action.

“My confidence in the region is shared by our fantastic local businesses. I have one simple view: if we back the innovators, the job creators, the entrepreneurs and the risk takers – everyone benefits.

"Indeed the whole mindset of my team is to ask how we can improve our local economy and create a perfect environment for the private sector to grow. Part of that is ensuring we do as much as we possibly can to support companies in our area."