Letter from government provides more evidence that R4U is right to be fixing inherited Planning and Development capability at UDC

A recent letter from the government Department of Housing and Communities supports R4U’s own analysis that the planning function at Uttlesford District Council was underperforming under the previous administration and required the significant re-engineering that is currently underway at the authority being driven by the local residents’ party.

John Evans (R4U)John Evans (R4U)

R4U’s Cllr John Evans, who is portfolio holder for Planning at UDC, said “We’ve just received more independent evidence that R4U were right when we promised to fix the poorly performing Planning and Development processes we inherited at UDC. The Department for Housing and Communities has recently written to the council to indicate that they believe that the authority had been underperforming in planning in the years up to March 2020. This is for the time period under the previous administration, and into the first months of ours as we took over.”

Cllr Evans continued “This letter is in line with the independent report that our own administration commissioned from Local Government Association earlier this year. That report recommended major changes and significant improvements to planning leadership, operating procedures and practices. Our administration has been acting quickly on those recommendations and many changes are already well underway.”

Cllr Evans concluded “The previous Conservative administration significantly let down residents in how they dealt with planning issues. They ignored their own independent consultant recommendation for improvement in 2018. That failure allowed the planning capability that they were responsible for at UDC to deteriorate even further. We are pleased to have made significant progress already in re-engineering the planning capability, and will continue to do so until it is fixed, working with the newly hired chief executive and his officer team. We look forward to reporting the council’s progress to both the Department for Housing and Communities and 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.