Press Release: R4U request for UDC Leader to retract untrue statement met with refusal

28th July 2015, Uttlesford: “This release is made by John Lodge, Chairman of Residents for Uttlesford (R4U), purely in response to that of the Conservative Party which asserts that R4U is calling for meetings to be held in secret. That assertion is UNTRUE and simply an obscene, opportunistic and hypocritical distortion of the facts by Tory troublemakers who would prefer to use spin to obfuscate their ideological difficulty with the concept of “Open Government”.

Completely to the contrary, R4U is in fact pushing the administration to open up six further UDC dark meetings to the light of public scrutiny and I hope that they will respond positively. This would follow R4U’s success in bringing the Plan Policy Working Group out of the dark back rooms and into the public forum. This is the dull sounding but vital committee, which will decide the strategic future of Uttlesford and which the Conservative administration carried out in secret before their election warning in May this year.

The incident to which the Conservatives are referring was a most threatening attack on Cllr Freeman from a member of the public which is now being investigated seriously by Essex Police; Cllr Freeman has obvious concerns about the safety of his family and cannot comment until police have moved further with their investigations.

I am stunned that the local Conservative Associating is seeking to make political capital from the distress of a hardworking and experienced R4U Councillor, but it demonstrates graphically their tawdry moral approach to local politics. I did approach the UDC leader to withdraw the release but he refused.”

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 is the fastest growing local political movement in its district. In 2015 it became the second party at Uttlesford District Council (UDC). In 2017 it achieved a further by-election gain with 60% of the vote. In the May 2019 Local Elections 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 those elections.

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

Residents for Uttlesford can be found on the web at