UDC to be forced by answer residents’ Local Plan questions at Extraordinary Council Meeting called by R4U

R4U has called an Extraordinary Meeting of Uttlesford District Council so that the UDC Cabinet can provide answers in public about the suspended Local Plan.

The public meeting will be held on November 16th at 7:30 pm at the Council offices in Saffron Walden. Interested residents should attend the meeting. If residents want to speak they need to register with UDC to speak by emailing psnow@uttlesford.gov.uk by 12 noon on Monday 14th November. Residents can also send us questions using our contact form.

In its Local Plan UDC must find space for more than 4,600 new homes in addition to the 7,000 that it has already approved. The unusual move of calling an Extraordinary Meeting of the Council was taken after R4U expressed a number of concerns about the Uttlesford Local Plan, particularly about secrecy and missing evidence.

John Lodge (R4U)
John Lodge (R4U)

R4U’s Chair Cllr John Lodge said “Last week we found out that an upcoming public council meeting about the Local Plan had been cancelled and replaced with a closed door session instead. This is unacceptable to residents, who have a right to know what’s going on, especially after the last Local Plan fiasco by the UDC Cabinet that cost local taxpayers over £2m. Over the last few months residents have seen a number of serious mounting issues, culminating in the sudden postponement of the Local Plan just after the UDC Cabinet had announced where they wanted to build new homes. Holding a hidden meeting just to whip councillors to support their flawed plan is not acceptable, and residents have questions that need to be answered. Five councillors are required to force an extraordinary meeting, and that is exactly what R4U has done so that these issues can be discussed in public.”

Alex Armstrong (R4U)
Alex Armstrong (R4U)

Cllr Alex Armstrong is R4U’s Dunmow candidate for the 2017 Essex County Council election. He said “UDC Cabinet member Susan Barker is responsible for the Local Plan. She announced to the press that they want to build all along the already often congested A120 corridor – a new town bolted onto Dunmow, and all new settlements to the east and west, which will create an urban sprawl from Braintree to Stansted airport. Tellingly there are no new homes planned for where she lives, yet Dunmow will be sandwiched between 1,000s of new homes competing for roads, schools and doctors. Cllr Susan Barker is meant to represent Dunmow, but clearly is only representing the UDC Cabinet’s plan and her own back yard. Dunmow deserves fair representation from people that actually live here – people who will engage with locals and who will answer their questions.  For example residents deserve to know why the UDC Cabinet has proposed no brand-new settlements for the north of the district, even though the Cambridge job market is booming?”

The Extraordinary Meeting of the full Uttlesford District Council will be held on November 16th at 7:30 pm in the UDC offices in Saffron Walden. This meeting will be open to the public.

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.