R4U delivers first ever Residents Charter for Uttlesford District Council

As part of reshaping Uttlesford District Council (UDC), Residents for Uttlesford (R4U) has delivered the first ever Residents Charter at the council and the first of 4 supporting annual Delivery Plans has been approved. The Residents Charter can be downloaded from the R4U website at www.residents4u.org/charter.

John Lodge (R4U) John Lodge (R4U)

R4U Chair Cllr John Lodge, who is also Leader at UDC, said “Local people elected us with a significant mandate to radically change how the council operates to make sure that residents are always the priority. More than 600 residents had direct input to our manifesto, of which we distributed 40,000 before the election. The Residents Charter makes this deliverable by the district council. We are delighted it has now been embedded in the council’s Corporate and annual Delivery Plans.”

Cllr John Lodge continued “Our Residents Charter commits the council to putting residents first; being an active community builder for our towns and villages; being a progressive custodian of our rural environment; and championing our district with other authorities. Delivering the charter will make Uttlesford the best place to live, work and play. Residents can read it on the R4U website. In support we have restructured portfolio responsibilities. Cllr Colin Day will now head up Communities, Neil Reeve Business and Investments, and Richard Freeman Council and Public Services’.”

Neil Hargreaves (R4U) Neil Hargreaves (R4U)

R4U’s Cllr Neil Hargreaves, District Council Portfolio holder for Finance added “The majority of the Delivery Plan changes ‘how’ the council does things to create better outcomes for residents, and therefore doesn’t really affect the budget apart from creating efficiency. The Delivery Plan to 2021 includes a number of additional programmes that do require budget. Dealing with the coronavirus pandemic so far has cost the council £4.4million, which is three-quarters of the total annual council tax. As a result we must sensibly delay new discretionary programme funding and narrow the scope of delivery until the government has made good on its promise to reimburse unbudgeted Covid-19 related losses. However, even with some delay and refocusing of a number of programmes, many of the 2021 delivery items are already underway to support our Residents Charter.”

Cllr Hargreaves concluded “Residents will have seen that since they elected us last year we have been busy fixing problems left by the previous administration, including the airport expansion, planning and finances. We thank residents for the trust they gave us. The new Residents Charter makes it 100% transparent that we are good to our word and that we are reshaping the district council to work better for them.”

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.