Independent planning experts have been questioning the government’s real motives for taking control of major planning decisions in Uttlesford.
Cllr John Evans, UDC portfolio holder for Planning and the Local Plan, said “The Conservative government’s decision to allow property developers to bypass local resident-led decisions on major planning applications raises big questions about their political motivations. We don’t believe nor accept their accusations of poor performance by our Residents Administration at UDC. The majority of the problems being used as reasons for the government’s intervention happened 3 years ago under the previous administration – not ours. Since 2019 R4U has made excellent progress in fixing the mess we inherited, even winning the prestigious RTPI Best Planning Excellence 2021 award.”
Joey Gardiner, an award-winning public policy journalist, speaking to building industry commentators for Planning Resource, asked “Was the independently-run [Uttlesford] district council singled out because it was politically an easy target?” In response, Simon Cox, founder and managing director of land agency Walter Cooper, said “I don’t think you have to be cynical to notice that Uttlesford just happens to not be a Conservative authority. Previous threats to intervene [elsewhere] were never followed up – you have to ask why now? Why Uttlesford?”