I am here because first and foremost, I am a resident of Uttlesford. I never intented to get into politics, and yet, the changes I have seen during 44 years of living and working in the district, have moved me to be part of a growing group of local, independent organisations who are calling for a radical change in local government.
As leader of R4U, I am standing for Uttlesford district council because I want to follow the wishes of residents and not follow slavish party political objectives. We are local people who want to serve other local people, whether that be limiting traffic queues, tackling air pollution or putting in the infrastructure which we need so badly.
Let me make it very clear that we fully accept the need for new homes, but what we must do is to build the right homes in the right places. We need affordable homes for local people not high cost houses that are simply unaffordable to the children of local residents. So we shall be firm with developers and only allow them to build; when they can commit to our community the infrastructure which is needed. We need schools, we need roads and we need medical facilities.
However we are not a single issue group. We have in fact a comprehensive manifesto which is unique in that; instead of making national party policies ‘fit’ our area, we started with our community and asked local people of all persuasions, what they needed. Over 600 people visited our town hall event to view and contribute to that manifesto. Many more wrote, emailed and contacted us online.
In our manifesto we have committed:
To always be open, transparent and accountable to you, not to Westminster;
To support new economic growth and local employment ;
To promote Uttlesford as a great tourist destination;
To have the planning process driven by local needs; and,
To ensure that developers provide all of the necessary infrastructure;
Finally, we do not want party political manoeuvring and a divided council. We will provide a refreshingly practical and common sense approach to getting the job of local government done. We will include expertise which exists locally and be blind to national party allegiances. We need a government of all the talents; and we will be unique in offering the government of the residents by the residents and for the residents.
Please join us in making that happen – thank you.
Transcript of speech made 24th April 2015 at the Walden in Transition District Council Hustings.