Uttlesford District Council votes to start new Local Plan after serial failures by previous administration

Councillors at R4U led Uttlesford District Council have voted to start a new Local Plan ‘from scratch’ after Inspectors found the past two plans submitted by the previous administration to be unsound. The councillors’ decision was guided by an independent review into the best way forward that was commissioned by UDC through the Local Government Association.

John Evans (R4U)John Evans (R4U)

After the council vote R4U’s Cllr John Evans, Planning portfolio holder at UDC, said “The results of the independent expert review UDC commissioned through the Local Government Association were quite clear. It said that the best option for our district was to start a new Local Plan from scratch. Councillors from all parties have voted to do just that. Our new administration will not make the mistakes of the last one. They wasted £6m of local taxpayers’ money and left residents open to a decade long developer-free-for-all. We must and will act quickly to put an end to it. Creating a new plan is a complex process that will take at least 3 years because this council will listen to and consult extensively with local residents.”

At the Uttlesford District Council meeting the vast majority of councillors voted to start a new Local Plan, including all the R4U, Independent and Green councillors along with half of the Conservatives and nearly a third of the Liberal Democrats.

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

R4U’s Cllr John Lodge, Leader at UDC added “We’ve brought a new brush to the council to sweep away the mistakes of the past. Under our Residents Administration the new Local Plan will: use evidence to decide the best places for new homes; prioritise the delivery of required infrastructure first; provide effective local control by residents; and tackle housing affordability. Council officers have already started and are working hard. They will be reaching out to town and parish councils to start the engagement on the new plan – our administration understands and values cooperation and very much wants to work with them. In short, this council will be a strategic community-maker with and for our district and its 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.