After £7.3m grant pressure mounts on ECC to finally invest in sustainable transport in Uttlesford

Pressure is building on Essex County Council to deliver new sustainable transport infrastructure in Uttlesford after receiving a £7.3million government grant for sustainable transport. R4U has been trying for the last 5 years to encourage Essex County Council to take an interest in cycling in Uttlesford, but so far ECC has refused.

Deryk Eke (R4U) Deryk Eke (R4U)

R4U’s Cllr Deryk Eke, who is the UDC Portfolio holder for Transport, said “ECC have recently boasted that they’ve received a grant of £7.3million to improve cycling and pedestrian facilities in Essex, but they have announced they are spending it in projects in Chelmsford, Colchester and Braintree. It is deeply disappointing to Uttlesford residents that ECC continually refuse to invest in any new sustainable transport in Uttlesford. Instead ECC have actually been reducing sustainable transport, with the continued reductions in our bus services, including for schools. That has forced more cars onto our rural roads – and they’ve done nothing about cycling or walking.”

Cllr Eke continued “I have written repeatedly to the ECC Transport Cabinet Member, but ECC continue to ignore our requests. Any competent authority would have a well-thought out cycling strategy that was actually delivering cycling infrastructure. District residents pay ECC more than £40million a year in council taxes, so it is only right we get our fair share back. We’ve got zero for cycling for years. We are redoubling our pressure on ECC to finally invest in our district. I also invite towns and villages to come forward to me with schemes they’d like us to push ECC to deliver.”

Paul Gadd (R4U) Paul Gadd (R4U)

R4U’s Cllr Paul Gadd, who is Leader of Saffron Walden Town Council, added “In Saffron Walden we know what we need. More than 5 years ago we conducted a major public consultation into cycle projects in and around the town. These schemes are vital to reduce congestion and pollution. All ECC have done is spend large amounts of money producing ‘strategy’ documents, largely containing schemes they have then separately rejected. They have delivered no new infrastructure. They haven’t even bothered to consult the public on any of it and the ECC Cycling Officer refuses to respond to the Town Council. Meanwhile, in stark contrast next-door, Cambridgeshire County Council has a new cycling network in place that is visible for all to see. It is time that ECC worked for residents and we had a fairer deal for Uttlesford.”

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.