Response from R4U UDC Cllr Barbara Light:
Dear Chief Executive and Leader of the Council
Thank you for your email.
On behalf of the R4U group, I fully endorse Councillor Dean’s concerns expresssed in his email this morning.
In the first instance, the article in the Herts & Essex Observer today on the two ‘garden village’ sites with quotes by Cllr Barker and the Head of Planning is both inappropriate and unacceptable given that decisions on housing allocations have not been made by the Council. Furthermore, this would indicate that the decisions are being made in secret a priori – in other words before they even reach Members and the Council.
Secondly, the executive decision to pause the Local Plan decision-making process was made without the knowledge or consent of the Members who have been publicly sidelined and ignored, and only learnt through the local paper that this was happening. I also understand that the above-named paper was fully briefed on Monday, whilst Members were requested to keep any information confidential until Tuesday when UDC would publish some information on the Plan.This is an unacceptable modus operandi.
Thirdly, there is a serious issue with the way that evidence is being produced. The measures and values of analytical tools and methods should be applied equally to all scenarios that are being tested in order to produce valid evidence, otherwise this is highly flawed and cannot be used in order to draw conclusions. Furthermore, any recommendations must emerge from the evidence – yet it seems that currently the evidence is being used to justify the recommendations that have already been decided upon.
Whilst I appreciate the pausing of the Local Plan decision-making process which is absolutely essential given the current lack of any real evidence, I condemn in the strongest terms the current handling of the Local Plan and the way in which elected Members have been treated.
I call on both the Chief Executive and the Leader of the Council to fully explain themselves to the Members of this Council.
Cllr Barbara Light