“Wakefield is underperforming economically in terms of its contribution to the region, given its good schools and transport links. I want to see that change,” she told LGC after her appointment last week.
“The town itself also needs some regeneration, in particular to benefit young people,” she added.
She is currently executive director of neighbourhoods and community care at Sheffield City Council, where she has worked since 1999. She is responsible for the council’s housing market strategy and investment, neighbourhood regeneration and community engagement.
Ms Roney is also a board member on Transform South Yorkshire, the housing market renewal pathfinder.
“Wakefield has similar challenges to Sheffield in that some neighbourhoods require focused attention to close the gap between well-off and less well-off areas”.
Ms Roney said the opportunity to work in Wakefield was ‘too good’ to miss.
Wakefield leader Peter Box (Lab) welcomed Ms Roney’s appointment. “She brings a wealth of experience which will help us to take forward our priorities of safer and stronger communities, skills, enterprise and work and healthier communities,” he said.
Ms Roney replaces John Foster who left Wakefield to take over at Islington LBC last month (LGCplus, 22 April), after a reported dispute with Cllr Box (LGC, 25 October 2007).