R4U puts residents at centre of re-engineered Local Plan process at UDC

R4U has designed the new Local Plan process at UDC to improve decision making, provide better scrutiny of work, and put residents at the centre.

John Evans (R4U)John Evans (R4U)

R4U’s Cllr John Evans, who at Uttlesford District Council is the Portfolio Holder for Planning and the Local Plan, said “It is critical that UDC delivers a Local Plan that is fit for purpose and centred on residents. That is what we are doing at the council. The government requires every UK district to accept 1,000s of new homes and have a strategy for where they will go. This is defined in a Local Plan. Most residents know that the previous council administration’s two Plan failures wasted £6million of their money. What they may not know is that each time the government has upped the housing numbers, particularly in Uttlesford. At the start they required UDC to allow 5,000 new homes. Now the government is threatening a whopping 18,000. Even though the previous council administration was voted out, unfortunately their catalogue of failures has left us all with an ongoing developer-free-for-all.”

Cllr Evans continued “Our new Residents Administration is determined not to repeat the failures of the previous one. We have re-engineered local planning at UDC to create a better result. There are many changes, but 3 are of key significance. First, the previous administration steered what they wanted politically by having the Local Plan Working Group make recommendations to themselves. Their cosy little arrangement was undemocratic and an appalling way to make decisions, so we’ve put an end to it.”

“Secondly their inadequate monitoring of ongoing work on the Plan created huge gaps in the evidence that they didn’t even know about. These were found by the Inspector who rejected their Plans. To fix that we’ve created an independently chaired scrutiny function that runs in parallel to prevent mistakes.”

“Thirdly the Conservatives and many Liberal Democrats, who both underwrote the failed Plans, took residents for granted and ignored them. We’ve got rid of that culture. Residents are at the centre of our new Local Plan. We’ve set up Residents Plan Forums which give residents, parish and town councils, and other interested bodies an ongoing seat at the table and input throughout. UDC has kicked off this programme, so look out for information from the council over the next few weeks.”

Cllr Evans concluded “R4U was elected to overturn the mistakes of the previous UDC administration. With a re-engineered process and residents help, we intend to deliver a new Local Plan that will be evidence led, put infrastructure first, tackle housing affordability, and very importantly have effective local control by 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.