A YORK based tech entrepreneur has announced that he will stand to be Mayor of York and North Yorkshire.

Matthew Freckelton has joined the race to be selected as the Conservative candidate for the role.

This move sees Mr Freckelton join the current North Yorkshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner (PFCC), Zoë Metcalfe, in putting his name forward to be the Tory candidate.

As a tech entrepreneur, Mr Freckelton has built three businesses in digital media, broadcasting and transport.

He started his first business, a social media monitoring platform, after graduating from the University of York which he later sold to a London based global communications agency.

His next venture saw him build and launch York TV, a digital TV station broadcasting on Freeview across North Yorkshire.

It was later acquired by a nationwide broadcasting company.

York Press: Matthew Freckelton visiting York-based digital agency NetsellsMatthew Freckelton visiting York-based digital agency Netsells (Image: Matthew Freckelton)

Mr Freckelton’s most recent venture was a service that helped consumers automatically receive compensation for delayed rail travel.

The company was later acquired by Trainline. 

In June 2021 Mr Freckelton was appointed by Uber as the company's UK’s head of cities where he is responsible for expanding the firm’s reach across the country and supporting its drivers. 

Launching his campaign, Mr Freckelton said he would prioritise creating better jobs for local people and support local businesses.

Mr Freckelton said he aims to improve public transport in the county, especially in rural areas.

The entrepreneur also announced that he will work to deliver more affordable homes across the county and ensure that North Yorkshire’s farmers and agricultural businesses are in “prime position to take advantage of the transition to net zero”.

'huge amount of untapped talent across North Yorkshire'

Mr Freckelton said: “From Settle to Scarborough there is a huge amount of untapped talent across North Yorkshire, as Mayor I will drive investment into housing, transport, and education so that no matter what a person’s background they can thrive.

“As a region we’re not just competing with the rest of the UK, we're competing with the rest of the world.

“North Yorkshire needs a leader that can not only work with the government to bring investments here, but has the background in business to work with global companies directly to secure the investments that will deliver thousands of good-quality well paid jobs.”  

The first Mayor of a York and North Yorkshire Combined Authority is due to be elected in 2024, following a process of devolution.

This new authority, with the Mayor at its head, will have responsibility for bringing hundreds of millions of pounds of investment into the region, and will be in charge of regional projects such as the York and North Yorkshire Local Transport Plan and adult education.

The new Mayor will also take over the powers currently held by the PFCC.

'overriding mission' to keep people safe

Speaking on taking on the roles of the PFCC, Mr Freckelton said keeping local people safe will be his “overriding mission”,

He said he will work with the Chief Constable to redeploy “as many officers as possible” back to the front line.

Mr Freckelton added: “As PFCC I won’t stand for the 26,000 instances of anti-social behaviour that we had last year. 

“I won’t stand for increasing levels of violent crime. 

“And I won’t stand for just four per cent of shoplifters being charged or getting a summons.”

As reported by The Press earlier this month, His Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary Fire and Rescue Service published its highly critical PEEL Inspection into North Yorkshire Police on March 17 – and the force was told it must make urgent improvements to help keep people safe and reduce crime.

Mr Freckelton said the report “has raised major concerns and shows the force needs to make urgent improvements to help keep people safe and reduce crime”.

“We need more police out on the beat in our communities to make our streets safer,” he added.

“These crimes make life miserable for far too many people in North Yorkshire and this will not be tolerated anymore, under my leadership there will be a zero-tolerance approach.”