Press Release: Residents Party accepts seat at table to fix Local Plan

Monday 12th January 2015, Saffron Walden: Residents-for-Uttlesford (R4U), the local advocacy party for towns and villages, has announced that it will be joining the revamped working group for the new Uttlesford Local Plan, but the party says it still has reservations about public participation and undue political influence.

R4U party chair Cllr John Lodge said “As we predicted the Inspector rejected the UDC Cabinet’s Local Plan on a whole number of issues, including the Council’s failure to cooperate. So we welcome the Tory-led Cabinet’s offer for us to now join the revamped working group, and we accept the position. However it is supposed to be independent, so why are both the UDC Leader and Deputy still part of the working group? The previous plan failed and residents don’t want further political tinkering. We are also concerned that UDC has only adopted part of our 4-point plan to fix the mess. For example residents and town/parish councils still have no seat at the table. All they are allowed to do is make a short statement at each meeting before being sent back to sit in the corner in silence. This is lip service to true cooperation and we have asked the Council to respond to our concerns.”

R4U announced that Newport District Councillor Joanna Parry will be joining the Local Plan working group as their representative.

On accepting the position, Cllr Joanna Parry said “When the Inspector cancelled the examination and sent the Local Plan back he instructed ‘Major Modifications’, including for Elsenham and Saffron Walden. We expect the Council to heed his words, rip up those sections and start again. We also expect them to take on board his criticism of their plans for Dunmow, Stansted and other key villages. There is a lot of work to do and the new group needs to roll up its sleeves and get started right away so that £millions more tax-payers’ money isn’t wasted.”

R4U Councillor Joanna Parry

The revamped Local Plan working group will hold its first meeting towards the end of January. It will be held in public for the first time.

Notes for Editors

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 gained majority control of UDC winning two-thirds of the seats. The result delivered the biggest loss of seats by any UK Conservative controlled council in the UK. 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