Residents have told us “Our schools are full. We need school places that are local to us and we want choice” and “Our libraries and museums are important and we don’t want them reduced or closed.”
UDC and ECC have jointly failed to plan for enough school places. The UDC administration’s Local Plan failure means we’re living in a developer-free-for-all. Uttlesford is now the 4th fastest growing non-metropolitan district in the country. That is due to mass house-building. Yet UDC and ECC fail to collect all the money needed from developers to build more schools for the families moving in to those homes. That means catchment areas have shrunk and parental choice has all but disappeared. Both are currently Conservative controlled councils.
Last autumn ECC Cabinet Councillor Susan Barker announced a strategy to close many libraries in Essex and slash funding to others. She is proposing to close Thaxted and Stansted libraries. That is half of the 4 libraries in Uttlesford. She has even said she is considering sell the iconic Saffron Walden library building and moving the services elsewhere. Cllr Barker is also a Conservative cabinet councillor at UDC. R4U has committed to step in to reverse the closing of any libraries in Uttlesford if elected to lead UDC.
Residents trusted us to advocate for them and hold those responsible to account. We have done many things, including:
- Exposed via a freedom-of-information request that ECC say they will only save £13,000 a year by closing Stansted and Thaxted libraries
- Organised an Uttlesford library protest and highlighted it on BBC News
- Successfully campaigned for more primary school places
- Pushed for the former Friends School site in Saffron Walden to be used to provide more state school places
- Opposed the £2million in Conservative government cuts to Uttlesford secondary schools
- Started a Department for Education investigation into ECC about withdrawals in school bus funding for village pupils
Our goal is to lead Uttlesford District Council. If elected to do so, in these manifesto areas we have pledged to:
- Schools & Education: We will work hard with other authorities to ensure our children have a top quality education at a school near where they live, and push for reliable and free transport for those living further away.
- Libraries, Arts & Museums: We will protect funding for libraries, arts and the museums, and promote and expand their activities.
Our detailed policies are: