First week of Uttlesford Local Plan hearings focus on new homes and jobs

John Lodge (R4U) John Lodge (R4U)

After the end of the first week of the Local Plan hearings R4U chair Cllr John Lodge, who is UDC Leader, said “So far the Planning Inspectors have examined the number of new homes that the government requires to be built, where in Uttlesford they should go, and where jobs would be created. They have been good at keeping the atmosphere relatively informal and making it easy for people to speak. There were strong representations by residents critical of the number of new homes and locations, and by those that wanted to provide more land for employment. Housing developers also all lined up to propose their own additional sites in existing towns and villages. The Inspectors will be back in a week to examine the proposals for new settlements, infrastructure and the airport. Residents want their voices heard on these matters so we are encouraged that a good number of their parish councils and groups have been invited to speak by the Inspectors. The examination findings are not expected to be issued until after the hearings are complete.”

Cllr Lodge continued “I’ve been asked a number of times recently why we haven’t withdrawn the Local Plan because it was submitted by the previous Conservative administration. The truth is we must stop the Tory’s decade-long developer-free-for-all that has overrun our historic towns and villages. The quickest way is for this plan to pass inspection and be adopted. Withdrawing it would mean 4 more years of speculative development, a further £3million cost for the council taxpayer, and thousands more houses. Council officers have assured us that the plan was ready for inspection. We have committed that if this is found not to be the case by the Inspectors, then we will positively work with them to resolve any issues. It is imperative to create the best outcome for Uttlesford residents.”

The second week of the Uttlesford Local Plan examination hearings start at 9:30 on Tuesday 16th July at the UDC offices in Saffron Walden. The hearings are open to the public. More information can be found on the UDC website in the Local Plan section.

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 leads Uttlesford District Council (UDC). It is the fastest growing local political movement in its district. In its first election in 2015 it became the second party at UDC. In 2017 it solidified its position with a further by-election gain with 60% of the vote. In the May 2019 Local Elections R4U gained majority control of UDC winning two-thirds of the seats. The result delivered the biggest loss of seats by any UK Conservative controlled council in the UK.

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 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.