Press Release: R4U announce Shadow Cabinet to provide stronger scrutiny of Tory District Council administration

10th June 2015, Uttlesford: Residents for Uttlesford (R4U), the local advocacy group for towns and villages, has announced its Shadow Cabinet at Uttlesford District Council.

Cllr John Lodge, R4U Chairman Cllr John Lodge (R4U Chairman)
John Lodge, Chair of Residents for Uttlesford and R4U Shadow Cabinet Leader said “We are the Principal Opposition Party at Uttlesford District Council and are serious about making sure that residents’ voices are heard.”

“By creating a Shadow Cabinet we will provide stronger scrutiny of the Conservative administration and their policies, and for alternative views and programmes to be highlighted. We have an outstanding team that includes seasoned finance, legal, business and planning experts. In many cases their experience significantly outweighs that of the cabinet members they are shadowing.”

Cllr Lodge continued “We are happy to have secured 30% or more of the seats on both the important Planning and Standards Committees, good representation on the Local Plan Working Group and the Performance & Audit, and Scrutiny Committees. This will allow us to work as a constructive opposition in the interests of all the residents of the Uttlesford.”

The R4U Shadow Cabinet portfolios at Uttlesford District Council are:

  • R4U Leader at UDC: John Lodge, former Chief Executive of a FTSE company, and a governor of Papworth Hospital.
  • Communities, Leisure & Sport: Joanna Parry, ex-RAF officer, founder of Save Newport Village, and experienced councillor.
  • Economy & Jobs: Paul G Fairhurst, successful repeat international entrepreneur and a managing partner of a respected law firm.
  • Environment, including Planning & Public Transport:Dr Richard Freeman, with considerable experience in planning and running complex projects for high-tech businesses.
  • Finance & Council Services: Neil Hargreaves, a chartered accountant and former accounts manager of an international reinsurance broker.
  • Health: Aisha Anjum, a lawyer and finance professional who has also worked with the UN promoting human rights.
  • Highways: Heather Asker, Current Saffron Walden Mayor and an experienced District and Town Councillor since 2007.
  • Housing: Sharon Morris, former insurance underwriter who is an active campaigner on family issues.
  • Schools & Education: Dr Barbara Light, part-time educational consultant and a former university lecturer. She is also the R4U Deputy Leader at UDC.

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