We residents need to decide for ourselves because we are being ignored

WOW! Campaigning for a local election is a full-time job and great preparation for the County Councillor role

I have been walking the miles around my patch, meeting locals and listening, listening, listening. The number of residents with existing unresolved issues who want to talk to me could be considered overwhelming, but I’m an existing Dunmow Town Councillor so I know what the job entails.

Residents in the South of Uttlesford are troubled by extortionate school transport costs that are crippling family budgets, and the stress of negotiating the ever shrinking number of school places in schools facing serious cuts to funding. Other people find poor public transport routes and timings limiting their quality of life, and poor customer service from the district council often means that a ten week wait for a replacement dustbin isn’t unusual.

If you live in and around the Great Dunmow/Takeley area, you’ll be familiar with the unofficial ‘Airport parking’ that turns residential streets into carparks. Residents are also having to cope with bad road design on developments where the ECC and the existing county councillor failed to question the width of access roads. Parking spaces were sacrificed in order to cram more houses in and developers and the council have left some streets inaccessible by emergency vehicles.

Locals are noticing an increase in Anti-Social and non-neighbourly behaviour. Facebook groups that cover much of my patch have almost daily posts about abandoned dog poo, a lack of poo bins and where they are provided they are often going un-emptied.

Despite the area having a recently elected a Police and Crime Commissioner who promised a lot, there is an (in)visible police presence on our streets, in our communities and this leaves residents questioning whether they can trusted to respond when they are most needed… In fact we recently saw the second bank-job in Dunmow in as many years. We are a small rural town not an urban jungle – this should not happen.

The current ECC councillor Susan Barker has failed residents a number of times during her 16 years as a county councillor. Maybe because she lives in a small remote village, she doesn’t understand the needs of Dunmow or the larger (and rapidly growing) villages. For example she:

  • FAILED to open the Dunmow bypass for 13 years whilst at the same time allowing 1,000s of new homes that needed it to avoid our town centre
  • COST residents more than £2 million when the Uttlesford Local Plan that she was responsible for was REJECTED in 2014. That is about £60 on each council tax bill. And it is worth noting that her team has been working on the Local Plan since…2005.
  • FAILED AGAIN, with another Local Plan, which has now been delayed again and likely to cost us £ millions more

It is apparent that no one is listening to residents, and if councillors won’t listen, they’re certainly not going to act in the best interests of locals. I believe it is time to rid ourselves of ‘career politicians’ from national parties in our councils. We need local residents who will work for local residents. I already serve as such on Dunmow Town Council and am ready to represent you on Essex County Council.

Whilst I cannot promise miracle cures to all of these problems, I will be a voice for local residents, holding elected officials, local government and developers to account. Decision must be justified, must be explained and must serve the needs of locals and not hidden political agendas.

If elected I will work with the parish, town, district and county councils to ensure that OUR Dunmow area is heard and not ignored.

May the fourth be with us! Please vote local. Vote Alex Armstrong, Residents for Uttlesford for the Dunmow County Division.

Alex Armstrong
Residents for Uttlesford
Great Dunmow Town Councillor
Candidate, Essex County Dunmow Division