Residents for Uttlesford (R4U), the local party of towns and villages, has stated that Uttlesford District Council has put itself at risk by continuing to employ their head of planning through his notice period as he prepares to join a national developer with major interests in the district.
Uttlesford District Council has seen a few high profile resignations since the high-profile rejection of their draft Local Plan by the government’s Inspector in 2014; first the chief executive, and now the head of planning.
John Lodge (R4U)
Cllr Lodge continued “I have raised the matter a number of times with the UDC leader and interim chief executive, and I am frankly appalled that they have refused to act – this is not their finest hour. To be clear this is not about an individual; it is about the power and influence that the head of planning role has, which leads to both real and perceived Conflicts of Interest in this situation. By not acting swiftly to remove him from work, UDC is opening itself to law suits from other developers whose sites are not selected for the Local Plan. It also risks another £2 million refusal of their Local Plan. He should have been on gardening from the beginning of January, as he would be in any commercial organisation. So what are the real reasons that the UDC leadership is prepared to risk taxpayers’ money like this again?”
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 www.residents4u.org.