Residents for Uttlesford (R4U) has expressed significant concerns about political interference in the new Local Plan and that UDC is again failing in its legal obligations. UDC is currently developing a new Local Plan after their last one was rejected in 2014 by the Planning Inspectorate, at a cost of over £2m to Uttlesford taxpayers.
John Lodge (R4U)
R4U’s Chair Cllr John Lodge said “The Local Conservatives have finally abandoned their pretence of creating an inclusive, evidence-led Local Plan for residents. It now really is all about them. Earlier this year the Tory UDC Cabinet removed a public consultation, but they have now taken further steps. They have now branded the plan as the ‘Conservative Local Plan’, cancelled all the meetings of the cross-party Local Plan working group before they finally announce where they want to allow new homes, and refused to take any comments from residents at their current exhibitions.”
Cllr Lodge continued “What has also been exposed is that they have abandoned any pretence of using evidence to guide the plan. Last week UDC Cabinet member Cllr Susan Barker announced at a meeting that their Local Plan wasn’t about picking the best location in the district for new homes, it was about communities taking their ‘share’. ‘Share’ is not what planning law requires – it requires the best location be selected. But it has also become abundantly clear that the ‘Conservative Local Plan’ is a NIMBY plan and nothing to do with share anyway. It disproportionately targets towns and villages where the Conservatives don’t have many councillors and UDC Cabinet members don’t live, for example Elsenham, Henham, and Saffron Walden. In fact the UDC Cabinet has proposed less than 1% of the additional new homes for where they live [ed – 43 new homes out of 4,600 additional required]. Let’s be clear here – theirs is not a plan for residents, it’s a plan to suit themselves; and it is political meddling in the extreme. It is in clear breach of planning law and we will be writing to the Planning Inspectorate 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 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 www.residents4u.org.