R4U led Uttlesford District Council has engaged an external team of advisers as part of re-engineering planning at the council and fixing the Local Plan after failures by the previous administration.
In January this year Planning Inspectors found the draft Local Plan submitted by the previous Conservative-led Uttlesford council to be “unsound”. The new council administration has committed to “fix the plan”. This week UDC Leader Cllr John Lodge has provided an update on progress.
“We have moved decisively and swiftly since the Inspectors issued their opinion. We’ve brought in a highly experienced and independent team of planning advisers. Boots are now on the ground. They have started reviewing the council’s options on how to best proceed with a new Local Plan that meets the government’s demands for new housing, whilst minimising the impact and cost to communities and residents. They will make recommendations over the next few weeks for consideration and approval by all councillors.”
“UDC’s officers have already made a number of significant improvements in how planning is done at UDC. This has allowed us to ask more of developers and also win a string of appeal victories against inappropriate developments; but we do need a more fundamental re-engineering of planning at the council. To do that our external team of advisers will undertake a root-and-branch review. They will recommend to the chief executive and councillors targeted investment, staffing, process and technology changes.”
Cllr Lodge concluded “We’re not like the previous administration. We demand high levels of governance, transparency, and democracy from this council. During the planning review and re-engineering process we expect officers and all councillors, including the Scrutiny Committee, to be completely involved. This is a new council; it is one that operates differently and strives for better outcomes for residents.”