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 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 party of towns and villages. The party was formed by a number of residents’ groups in north-west Essex to provide a strong, independent voice for local people. The party believes that on local issues residents should decide, not politicians from Westminster parties.
R4U is the fastest growing local political movement in the district. In 2015 it became the second party at Uttlesford District Council. In 2017 R4U achieved further gains with a 60% share of the vote in a local district council by-election. Success has been based on the group’s desire to give local people a voice and implement long range strategic and sustainable plans for their area.
Residents for Uttlesford also has numerous Town and Parish Councillors. It is the largest party at Saffron Walden Town Council, where under its stewardship the council has rebuilt its finances, invested in community assets, and won multiple awards.
R4U can be found on the web at www.residents4u.org.