Article by R4U’s Martin Foley:
The government’s removal of residents’ power to decide on major planning matters of more than 10 houses is all about politics.
Our MP is a minister of state for the Westminster department that seized some of Uttlesford planning powers last week. The Conservatives continue to show they don’t respect local people or how they voted. It is all about control, even at a permanent cost to our rural villages and towns.
Property developers and tycoons have donated more than £11 million to their party. Are these very large sums being used to buy policy favour? Following the donations, the government tried to push through their ‘Developers Charter’ to nationally remove many local planning powers. Is it the case of “he who pays the piper whistles the tune?”
In 2019 you elected R4U to take a local approach to prevent the worst developments. Our MP’s department accuses UDC of having ‘lost’ 16% of appeals on major planning applications. What that actually means is that 84% of poor big developments have been successfully turned down, which would have put more yet more pressure on already overcrowded roads, schools and GP surgeries. We do not ‘dance with developer donors’ and so a residents’ run council, like UDC, taking a stand against the Conservatives is a political target. They want to crush our resident’s alliance and teach Uttlesford voters a lesson.
Outside of London, for the last decade of this government, Uttlesford has seen the second highest proportional amount of housing development in the country. The previous Conservative UDC administration enabled this, and also wanted huge new-town expansions around Dunmow, Chesterford, Saffron Walden and Stebbing. There is real fear from residents that they are now trying to get these by the back door.
You chose R4U to stand up for you on local issues. We’re doing what we promised, even when it is a David and Goliath battle. Residents deserve to decide what is best for them, not those who don’t live here or understand local issues.
Cllr Martin Foley (R4U)
UDC Thaxted and the Eastons Ward and ECC Thaxted Division