R4U leaders at UDC thank residents and businesses for heeding advice to allow Uttlesford Christmas to happen

Residents for Uttlesford (R4U) has issued a Christmas statement from its council leaders at Uttlesford District Council thanking residents and businesses for their role in keeping local Covid infection rates low compared to surrounding areas during the year.

John Lodge (R4U) John Lodge (R4U)

R4U’s Cllr John Lodge, who is Leader of Uttlesford District Council, said “For the majority of us, Covid has made 2020 the worst year in living memory. Despite this, so many people have risen to the challenge and gone above and beyond to support our communities – thank you. R4U-led UDC has been at the forefront of community support, including distributing over £20million in business grants. For the most part, council services were delivered as expected and staff excelled in taking on the enormous Covid programme work. More importantly residents and businesses have also played a critical role by heeding advice. In the run up to Christmas our infection rates have remained relatively low compared to our neighbours, which lessened the potential impact on our local retail, service and hospitality businesses at this critical time of year for them. Because of that we stayed out of Tier 4 until Boxing Day, allowing Uttlesford businesses to stay open and residents to be able come together in ‘three household bubbles’ on Christmas Day.”

Cllr Lodge continued “In the run up to Christmas, UDC approved a £1million local business Covid recovery programme which will start in the New Year. UDC has been able to afford this because the financial problems we inherited have been fixed. It is our goal to make UDC financially independent because government funding to local authorities has been slashed in recent years, and we believe that UDC cannot rely on it in the future. This new and growing financial independence has also allowed R4U-led UDC to commit at least £1million to tackling climate change and a £450,000 grant scheme for community sports facilities.”

Petrina Lees (R4U) Petrina Lees (R4U)

R4U’s Cllr Petrina Lees, who is Deputy Leader at UDC, added “In spite of Covid, we have tried hard to focus on the job in hand. At UDC we’ve made huge strides in reshaping the council to deliver the manifesto that residents voted for, including delivering the council’s first Residents Charter. This places the council’s focus squarely on residents, rather than Westminster parties. UDC has finally got the failed Local Plan back on track, with more community involvement than ever before. We are fighting hard to win the Stansted Airport expansion appeal, where decades of growth have blighted the health and lives of nearby communities.”

Cllr Lees concluded “Finally at R4U we think of our dear colleague Cllr Alan Storah who sadly suddenly died this year. As you sit around your Christmas tables, please raise a glass to the ones you love and miss, and another one to a much better 2021.”

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.