Residents call for change at Essex County Council in May local elections to stop the cycle of failure

Residents for Uttlesford (R4U) has announced that it is fielding candidates to contest the four Uttlesford seats at Essex County Council. The local party says that if elected, R4U councillors will work to break the ‘cycle of failure’ at ECC, and will hold the council to spend council taxes sent from Uttlesford on Uttlesford priorities.

Dan Starr (R4U Chair) Dan Starr (R4U Chair)

Dan Starr, chair of R4U, said “Essex County Council isn’t working for Uttlesford residents. They are spending our tax money elsewhere. Year-after-year we see the same problems – 3x more potholes in 4 years, broken street lights, flooding, no school choice, and no new infrastructure. On top of that ECC has refused to accept responsibility for their multiple school bus safety issues. Now they are failing on finance. Uttlesford residents pay ECC over £50 million a year – they take 71 pence in every £1 of our council tax. Despite this, their budget includes slashing £46 million more of services next year, but they’re refusing to tell residents where until after the election. What of ours will they cut? If we keep electing the same people, the same cycle of failure will keep happening. R4U has fixed Saffron Walden Town Council and Uttlesford District Council, and we’re now fielding a full slate of candidates for the May 6th county elections. Enough is enough – it is time for change at County Hall.”

Geoff Bagnall (R4U) Geoff Bagnall (R4U)

Cllr Geoff Bagnall, who is standing for R4U in the Dunmow county division, said “If Residents candidates are elected we will hold Essex County Council to account to treat Uttlesford fairly and spend our tax money on us. We will hold them to prioritise our highways needs, clear drains, meet their eco obligations, speed up rural broadband, restore school choice, invest in our libraries and communities, and make developers pay for infrastructure. I chair the UDC Local Plan working group, so I know what developers should be contributing. Paul Gadd is standing up for Saffron Walden, where the Town Council under his leadership has officially become the Best Council in Essex. Bianca Donald is standing up for Stansted residents. In 20 years of teaching she’s seen how ECC has failed our youth and parents – in fact she’s standing against the ECC cabinet member who is responsible for Education and the bus fiasco. Longstanding community champion Martin Foley is standing up for Uttlesford’s most rural county division Thaxted. He knows first-hand how the poor investment in our roads, buses, libraries and broadband impact village life every day. It is time for a better deal from ECC for Uttlesford residents. Westminster party politicians in Chelmsford are complacent and don’t care about us. It is time for residents to decide.”

Essex County Council - Your Residents Candidates

There are 4 county divisions in Uttlesford. Here are our candidates.
Cllr Geoff Bagnall

Cllr Geoff Bagnall

Experienced councillor Geoff Bagnall is the chair of the new UDC Local Plan working group. He’s standing against the ECC councillor whose 2 previous failed Local Plans cost Uttlesford taxpayers £6m. Outside of the council he has a career fixing performance at financial companies and the skills to drive improvements. He’s standing for the ECC Dunmow Division.
Bianca Donald

Bianca Donald

Bianca Donald has taught in our schools since 2004 and understands parents’ frustration as budgets have been slashed and local school choice eradicated. She’s standing against Ray Gooding, the ECC cabinet member who is responsible for Education and the school bus safety fiasco. Bianca feels that with better representation ECC can be more responsive to Uttlesford residents’ needs.
Cllr Martin Foley

Cllr Martin Foley

Thaxted resident Martin has been a UDC councillor since 1995. His long tenure is because he’s very active in his community and always focuses on putting his ward residents’ needs first. He’s a visible campaigner for our rural environment and has worked to save Thaxted library from ECC cuts. He’s fought against airport expansion and the proposed new green-field town in Easton Park.
Cllr Paul Gadd

Cllr Paul Gadd

Paul Gadd is the Leader at Saffron Walden Town Council where over 6 years he’s lead the turnaround from inherited financial mess to now award-winning Best Council in Essex. He’s a lawyer by career and very community minded. He volunteers with Saffron Walden Cricket Club, the Fry Art Gallery and Bridge End Gardens as well as being heavily involved with the local branches of Friends of the Earth and Amnesty International.

District Council and Town Council By-Elections - Your Residents Candidates

There are by-elections in Newport, the Sampfords and Saffron Walden wards.
Cllr Judy Emanuel

Cllr Judy Emanuel

Judy Emanuel’s career spans from start-ups to a large IT consultancy. She’s highly active in Newport, fundraising for local causes and schools, serving on the PTA and parish council. She was on the core team delivering the Newport Quendon & Rickling Neighbourhood Plan, and has been successful at appeals stopping major unsustainable developments.
Uli Gerhard

Uli Gerhard

Uli has PhD in Chemistry from Cambridge and a career in investment banking. During the pandemic he has also been volunteering in local vaccination centres. Uli cares passionately about our rural environment and his spare time he’s an avid beekeeper. He and his wife, local GP Dr Yvonne Girgis-Hanna, live in Radwinter and their children attend SWCHS.
Katherine Gregory

Katherine Gregory

As the daughter of a heritage architect, Katherine is keen to make sure our built environment is protected and enhanced as our area develops. She is a freelance journalist who has worked for many national and regional titles and is standing for the Saffron Walden Town Council Little Walden Ward.

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.