R4U is calling for the resignation of Uttlesford Local Plan portfolio holder Cllr Susan Barker after another costly plan failure which could delay the Local Plan to 2020.
A Local Plan will allow Uttlesford District Council to control how many houses are built and where they go. The council is required to undertake an independent assessment of its plan. This was recently concluded by AECOM, a multi-national planning and engineering consultancy. Published last week, the report highlighted critical failures (AECOM report; see Chapter 5) in the latest draft of UDC’s Local Plan, including major deficiencies in the process for how the sites for new homes were selected. AECOM indicate that properly fixing the plan will mean further delays. In contrast the UDC leadership thought it would be ready to send for final review by the Planning Inspector early in the New Year.
R4U chair Cllr John Lodge said “AECOM’s recommendation of how to properly fix the flaws in UDC’s Local Plan means it could be delayed a further 2 years. For 7 years we’ve seen a catalogue of failures by Local Plan lead Cllr Susan Barker, who was appointed to the district council cabinet position to oversee the Uttlesford Local Plan in 2011.
“Cllr Barker has proven to be unable to learn from her mistakes. Part of the reasons for the 2014 rejection by the Planning Inspector were failures in the process for how the sites for new homes were selected. When she’d failed to act on it by 2016, R4U was forced to write to the Planning Inspector. Earlier this year she’d still not acted, so R4U refused to be a signatory to the plan because these and other issues had not been resolved. Now after 4 years UDC’s own independent consultant AECOM has found the same fatal flaws that have been there since 2014 and not acted on.”
John Lodge concluded “Poor Local Plan leadership has cost residents £millions, and left our district with a developer-free-for-all whilst we wait for a proper plan to pass – and we are further away from that than we were in 2014. Cllr Barker’s delays mean that UDC has lost control of development in our district. Enough is enough. UDC should appoint another cabinet member to oversee the Local Plan and this time they must listen to advice and take the lowest risk approach to getting this plan delivered.”
About Residents for Uttlesford
Residents for Uttlesford (R4U) is the local party of towns and villages. The party was formed by a number of residents’ groups in north-west Essex to provide a strong, independent voice for local people. The party believes that on local issues local residents should decide, not politicians from Westminster parties.
Uttlesford residents achieved their first election gains in 2013 and have been increasing their voter share ever since. R4U is the fastest growing local political movement in the district. In 2015 they became the second party in Uttlesford District Council. In 2017 R4U achieved further gains with a 60% share of the vote in a local district council by-election. The party is the fastest growing local political movement in the area. Success has been based on the group’s desire to give local people a voice and implement long range strategic and sustainable plans for their area.
Residents for Uttlesford also has numerous Town and Parish Councillors. It is the largest party at Saffron Walden Town Council, where under its stewardship, the council has rebuilt its finances, invested in community assets, and won multiple awards.
R4U can be found on the web at www.residents4u.org.