R4U administration starts re-engineering of planning at Uttlesford District Council

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.

John Lodge (R4U)John Lodge
R4U Chair & Leader UDC

Cllr Lodge said “It is imperative that Uttlesford District Council is able to be a strategic ‘place-maker’ for the future of our towns and villages. The previous administration wasted £millions of residents’ money on multiple failed Local Plans. Repeating the same thing over and over again doesn’t give different results. That is not what this Residents Administration will do. We will fix the plan.”

“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.”

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’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 leads Uttlesford District Council (UDC). In its first election in 2015 it became the second party at UDC. In the May 2019 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. In 2021 the party won half the Essex County Council seats in Uttlesford district.

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.