R4U pushes for stronger reporting and oversight of Local Plan at UDC

The Residents for Uttlesford administration at UDC is putting in place stronger oversight and reporting of evidence to drive Local Plan delivery against a backdrop of government demands for more new houses to be built in Uttlesford.

Dan Starr, chair of Residents for Uttlesford said “Our administration at UDC is not happy that there has been a delay to the Uttlesford Local Plan and has acknowledged that it needs to push the council harder to get it done. As a result, our council leadership team is asking for stronger oversight and detailed reporting from council officers, particularly around supporting evidence. We also remain concerned that a number of opposition councillors at UDC are pushing for the Local Plan to be delivered before it is complete. This is wholly unacceptable, and would cause the Plan to fail at inspection, exposing our district to a longer period of unfettered development. The previous UDC administration took more than 8 years and still failed to produce a Local Plan. Our administration is 3 years into the development of the new Plan, so there is time to get it 100% correct – and it is right to do so.”

Dan Starr added “The government dictates how many new houses a council must approve, which a council must put in a Local Plan. Many councils across the country believe the numbers imposed by the government are deeply unfair and not representative of actual local demand, and R4U agrees. For example, the Uttlesford district council housing waiting list is 1,233, compared to the 16,000 new-build houses that the government requires UDC to provide for. Much of this huge additional number only seem to be there to support the profits of large housebuilders, a number of whom donate £millions to the Conservatives.”

R4U chair Dan Starr concluded “At a recent council meeting, councillors used a motion of complaint to voice their frustration at the situation UDC finds itself in. They and many residents have had enough of Westminster’s relentless push to concrete over our countryside – in fact in the last week the UK’s three big nature and conservation charities campaigned about this nationally. We find it distasteful to ask residents to continually take more houses than they believe are justified, but until the government changes their unilateral requirements, those are the rules. That means our administration at UDC is duty-bound to produce a Local Plan, however unpalatable it is, and they will take the time required to ensure that it is properly evidenced.”

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