There is cross-party support for a delay in the final approval for the Stansted Airport Expansion until after the local elections in May following concern that mishandling of the planning process has exposed UDC to legal challenge and financial risk.
In 2018 Stansted Airport secured outline planning approval from Uttlesford District Council to significantly expand airport capacity to the same size as Gatwick. The expansion is subject to a Judicial Review by the Stop Stansted Expansion group (SSE). There have also been complaints about how the UDC administration handled the planning process, which is now also subject to a formal review.
As a result this week Residents for Uttlesford and the Liberal Democrats at UDC have jointly asked UDC delay the final planning approval Decision Notice until after May’s local council elections.
“There are unresolved concerns that the whole thing has been mishandled. These include legal and oversight issues, and it is now subject to a formal Scrutiny Review. SEE have launched a Judicial Review. These must be allowed to follow proper process before the final decision is issued.”
Cllr Garry LeCount added “What’s more councillors on the Planning Committee have been blocked from seeing the legal agreements that bind the airport to pay for upgrades to our roads and railways. It will take an estimated £1.2billion to upgrade our infrastructure to be similar to Gatwick’s, so these discussions must be transparent so we can all see what is being demanded from the airport.”
R4U’s Garry LeCount concluded “Because the UDC leadership is trying to rush things through while things are unresolved, we have initiated cross-party action with the Lib-Dems to try to prevent it. Our 11 signatories are enough to force a council Extraordinary Meeting to take the decision away from the UDC leadership. But Conservative Council Leader Howard Rolfe is still determined to force it through and so far failed to agree the meeting. He’s said publicly that he would not be ‘bullied’ into delaying the approval by any external organisations, including SSE. His actions have exposed the council to huge legal and financial risks. If elected to run UDC in May R4U will do things differently. We will review the entire planning process and we have already committed to a fairer more transparent deal with the airport.”
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 residents should decide, not politicians from Westminster parties.
R4U is the fastest growing local political movement in the district. In 2015 it became the second party at Uttlesford District Council. In 2017 R4U achieved further gains with a 60% share of the vote in a local district council by-election. 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.