Uttlesford Council Leader sends strong Local Plan response to Westminster

The Residents for Uttlesford (R4U) administration at Uttlesford District Council has responded strongly to a December letter from Secretary of State Michael Gove MP, that demanded that the Council provide an update about its Local Plan timeline ‘within 12 weeks’.

Petrina Lees (R4U) Petrina Lees (R4U)

R4U’s Cllr Petrina Lees, Leader of Uttlesford District Council, said “It was perplexing and surprising to receive this demand because UDC had already published the latest Local Plan timetable last October and sent it to his Department of State. In fact, since October council officers have also held positive update meetings with Westminster officials, who were fully briefed on the Local Plan progress. So why did he send the letter when, as Secretary of State, he should know what his own department knows? Nonetheless, I have written to Mr Gove to remind him of the progress and timeline. We at UDC look forward to continuing to work effectively with staff members in his department. Meanwhile our administration continues to collaborate and work cross-party to deliver a Local Plan so that we can stop the decades-long speculative developer free-for-all left by the Conservatives and their failed policies.”

Chloë Fiddy (R4U) Chloë Fiddy (R4U)

R4U’s Cllr Chloë Fiddy, who is a former UDC officer, added “It would be disappointing if this letter sent out-of-the-blue to UDC was part of more pre-election coordinated chest-thumping on behalf of the Westminster Conservatives. Whatever the “reasoning”, actually preparing and writing UDC’s response was a straightforward admin task. However, the extra full council meeting expressly called to discuss it, demanded by the Conservatives at UDC, was a complete waste of officer time and taxpayer money. Officers have better things to do, not least working on the Local Plan, than wasting hours pandering to the whims and petty politics of the Tory councillors, who seem desperate to delay the new Plan by any means possible. In fact, they recently voted to stop it. Let’s not forget it was Conservative administrations at UDC who have been responsible for the failure to deliver a Local Plan since 2005 and wasted £ millions of our taxpayer money in the process. Luckily UDC has many other sensible councillors who understand the Local Plan process, read their briefing papers and work collaboratively for residents. Getting a Local Plan in place is the only way to stop the developer-led development that has and continues to seriously erode our district’s infrastructure.”

About Residents for Uttlesford