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’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 took majority control of UDC by gaining two-thirds of the seats. Since then it has set about re-engineering the now award-winning council operates, rebuilding the finances and fixing how planning is done. 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