UDC leadership waste 3 months on Local Plan because of refusal to acknowledge defects

R4U believes that UDC should have delayed their Local Plan 3 months ago when it was first obvious that it was flawed; and that significant amendments should be adopted to make the plan sound.

John Lodge (R4U)John Lodge
R4U Chair & Leader UDC

R4U chair Cllr John Lodge, who sits on UDC’s Local Plan working group, said “The UDC leadership has just announced that they are delaying their Local Plan again. They should have taken this decision 3 months ago as soon as the Braintree Plan was rejected. The two plans are conjoined around a new settlement West of Braintree. Once the Inspector found that unsound, UDC could no longer prove it was able to deliver the houses it needed to pass the test. Instead, to cover up the mess, they pretended all was OK. Now it has been exposed.”

“But UDC’s Plan has further problems as it has other similar fatal flaws as the Braintree Plan. These include missing infrastructure planning, evidence to show the best locations for homes have been selected, and a lacking financial model.”

“Three months ago R4U recommended that UDC pause to fix their plan; instead they steamed on and how they’ve wasted another £250,000 of council tax-payer money. Worse than that, they have left our communities vulnerable to predatory and unsustainable piecemeal development for another 3 months.”

“With our planning experts, R4U has produced a strong set of proposals to get the Local Plan back on track. Instead of the current flawed plan that lets big developers’ asset-strip our communities, our proposals deliver a sound Local Plan. They give local control over new towns, housing numbers based on evidence, affordable housing priority for residents, and delivery of key infrastructure before new homes are built. Once these proposals are adopted we’ll be able to support the Local Plan. Until that time it still isn’t fit for purpose.”

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.