Press Release: Residents for Uttlesford slam UDC Cabinet’s attempt to pander to developers in new Local Plan consultation

14th October 2015, Uttlesford: Residents for Uttlesford (R4U), the local advocacy group for towns and villages, has branded the latest draft Local Plan consultation document produced by UDC as biased and unintelligible. R4U believes that public consultations should be resident-friendly, in plain English, and not only targeted to developers.

During a meeting of the Full Uttlesford District Council on Tuesday night (13th) both R4U and Conservative councillors criticised the intelligibility of the new draft Local Plan strategy document, which will be the basis of the upcoming public consultation. Cllr Susan Barker, the Cabinet Member responsible for the Local Plan since 2011, brushed the criticism aside before rallying Conservative councillors to push approval through.

During the debate Tory UDC Leader Cllr Howard Rolfe tried to characterise R4U’s stance as being against public consultation. This was rebuffed by Cllr Dr Barbara Light, the R4U deputy leader at UDC.

Cllr Barbara Light, R4U Cllr Dr Barbara Light (R4U)
Cllr Dr Barbara Light (R4U) said “Our position is clear and everybody know it. We’ve long pushed for better engagement between UDC and the public. Residents should be properly consulted in plain English. Now they’ve produced a new Local Plan strategy that is twisted, biased and written so as to be unintelligible to the layperson. More shockingly they’ve said they don’t care because they are primarily targeting developers.”

Cllr Light continued “This is the same UDC Cabinet that failed to listen to residents over the last 4 years and had their Local Plan rejected at a £2m cost to us. In response to our concerns Cllr Barker suggested that locals are not interested in the future of their district and if they didn’t understand the document they could ask their ‘silly questions anonymously’. Frankly their attitude to local taxpayers is outrageous and patronising. We pay for this Council and they should be working for us, not in the pocket of home-builders.”

Two weeks ago UDC published a report that they had commissioned that indicated that the district needed to allow 12,500 new homes at a rate of 568 a year. The new Local Plan will define where new homes are actually built. After the approval of the document was pushed through at Tuesday’s Council meeting, UDC say that their public consultation on their new Local Plan strategy will run from 22 October to 4 December.

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 www.residents4u.org.