R4U: “Census lays bare the result of a politically fuelled developer free-for-all in Uttlesford”

The recent ONS report into the 2021 census shows that in the last decade Uttlesford has experienced the largest green-field housebuilding anywhere in the country under the Conservatives, and that it has adversely affected many communities.

John Evans (R4U)John Evans (R4U)

R4U’s Cllr John Evans, who is the Uttlesford District Council portfolio holder for Planning, said “The recently published census data lays bare what every local resident knows – Uttlesford has suffered from an uncontrolled developer free-for-all for a decade; and it is plain for all to see from the proliferation of building and developers’ site boards across the district. The census shows that between 2011 and 2021 our district saw the second biggest increase in households in the country – up 18.2%. The only larger growth anywhere was in metropolitan Tower Hamlets, and that was only as a result of brown-field housing development at the former London Olympic Park. Ours is nearly all loss of green-fields, and we’ve experienced much more building than any of our neighbouring districts.”

Cllr Evans continued “The reason is that the previous Conservative administration at UDC opened up our rural villages and towns to the building industry, and the government paid them £8,000 for each new house approved. Then, when they were voted out and our newly elected Residents Administration at UDC started taking on developers and turning down poor-standard developments, their masters in Westminster seized control of major planning approvals – removing decisions from those locally elected to make them by Uttlesford residents. This undemocratic action was taken by the Department of State in which our MP is a minister. All of this is against a backdrop of the large Sunday Times investigation which exposed more than £3 million in ‘pay-for-policy’ donations by property developers to the Conservative party.”

Cllr Evans concluded “We’ve taken more than our fair share of new housing for the country. A decade of political meddling has resulted in unfettered development which continues to badly affect many of our communities, decimating access to schools, surgeries, and other services. The census statistics now show that Uttlesford is being unfairly swamped. The government has mandated that this must continue, but with a predicted halving of population growth in the 2020s, it’s about time Westminster politicians listened to and acted for residents, not the building industry.”

About Residents for Uttlesford