Sharon Morris: Damage has been done and an unreserved apology is overdue

Last night, I made this statement to the full Uttlesford district council:

Councillors, it is with a sense of great disappointment that I stand before you this evening. I am sure that you all entered public service with the best of intentions. Because you wanted to make our district a better place. Because you wanted to make a real difference to our lives. We, the residents of Uttlesford, voted for you because we believed you when you told us you would represent us to the best of your abilities. However, it has become increasingly obvious that certain Councillors have failed in their duties and they have failed us. They have failed to listen to the many, many well researched, educated and intelligent individuals and groups who pointed out again and again serious flaws in their decision making and their Plan. The collective noise of those individuals and groups got so loud that these Councillors decided not hear it, let alone listen to it, and barred us from having any voice at all. These Councillors, not content with ignoring us, ignored the Government too and rode roughshod over rules and guidelines set out in the NPPF.


As a resident I am deeply ashamed of this débâcle. It has not shown our wonderful district in a very good light. To be 1 of only 15 plans to have been rejected so completely by the Planning Inspector as to be unrepairable within 6 months, is shameful.


There is no joy in victory. No triumph in “we told you so”. Damage has been done and an unreserved apology is overdue. Our Community has suffered, is suffering and will continue to suffer as the affect of the poor planning decisions made are felt, and continue to be felt, for many years to come. Councillors, it is time to decide whose side are you really on? Where do your allegiances really lie? To the residents who voted for you, who you made a commitment to in 2011, or to those Councillors who lead us all down this sorry path.


Today you have a chance to do the right thing. To show us you are serious about listening. To show us that you now intend to consult properly, to debate openly and to decide fairly. I hope you all make a decision that allows you to sleep soundly tonight.


Thank you.
Sharon Morris