Press Release: Uttlesford residents form political party and launch campaign to win 2015 district election

Wednesday 22nd October 2014, Saffron Walden: Uttlesford residents have announced that they have formed their own independent political party, Residents for Uttlesford (R4U), with the intention of taking control of their District Council in 2015. They have also announced their first 7 prospective district council election candidates and launched their new website at www.Residents4U.org. R4U says that the initial group of candidates demonstrate that the new political party has support from across the district, political spectrum and backgrounds.

John Lodge, the Residents for Uttlesford chairman and existing Essex County Councillor stated:

“Residents don’t want national parties telling them what’s good for them locally – they want to decide for themselves. We’ll unveil our detailed policies nearer the election, but have no doubt about it, our plans are big, bold and are all about towns and villages getting their voices back and deciding for themselves.”

Along with Essex County Councillor John Lodge, the initial group of prospective candidates includes current Independent District Councillor Joanna Parry; former Liberal Democrat District and Saffron Walden Town Councillor, and former Mayor Dr Richard Freeman; plus former Labour MP candidate Dr Barbara Light. To cover the complete political spectrum, the residents’ party has also announced that current District Councillor for Dunmow, Keith Mackman, has left the Conservative Party to join Residents for Uttlesford.

The initial 7 prospective candidates are rounded off with families’ advocate, playground campaigner and mother of local school age children Sharon Morris, and Residents for Uttlesford co-founder and vice chair Dan Starr.

R4U Cllr Keith Mackman added:

“It is critical that residents from all backgrounds have a voice. That means we want both fresh faces and seasoned political experience from every party to help drive a broad set of policies focussed on things that matter to people – the local economy, quality-of-life, fiscal responsibility, and proper long-range planning. We’ve got working mums, existing politicians, successful business leaders and everything in between. Today we’ve announced just our first group of prospective candidates to showcase the political diversity and backgrounds of those that want to give residents a true voice. You can find out about more about R4U, our candidates and read their blogs at www.Residents4U.org.”

Dan Starr, R4U co-founder said:

“In the last year the District Council has seen its approval rating slump from over 90% to 56% as residents have become increasingly fed up at being let down by the current Council on a whole range of issues. Since we announced in July that it was our intent to take control of UDC in 2015, we’ve seen a steady stream of people sticking their hands up to become candidates. But we’ve still got space for more. If you love where you live and want to make a difference for the residents of Uttlesford, drop us a line through our website – we want to hear from you.”

About Residents for Uttlesford

Residents for Uttlesford (R4U) is the local independent party of north-west Essex towns and villages. Formed in 2014 by a number of residents’ groups, the party believes that on local issues residents should decide, not Westminster parties. R4U’s success has been based on the desire to give local people a voice and implement long range strategic and sustainable plans for their area.

R4U leads Uttlesford District Council (UDC). In its first election in 2015 it became the second party at UDC. In the May 2019 R4U took majority control of UDC by gaining two-thirds of the seats. Since then it has set about re-engineering the now award-winning council operates, rebuilding the finances and fixing how planning is done. In 2021 the party won half the Essex County Council seats in Uttlesford district.

R4U also leads Saffron Walden Town Council, where under its stewardship the council has rebuilt finances, invested in community assets, and won multiple awards, including the best run council in Essex. It is a minority party on Great Dunmow Town Council.

Residents for Uttlesford can be found on the web at www.residents4u.org.