R4U and UDC condemn Essex County Council proposal not to pay library staff

Under Residents for Uttlesford leadership Uttlesford District Council has approved a cross-party motion that condemns Essex County Council’s new library strategy to use unpaid staff. Cllr Dr Barbara Light, Uttlesford …read more →

UDC declares Climate & Environmental Emergency and commits to Carbon Net Zero 2030 goal

Under Residents for Uttlesford leadership last week Uttlesford District Council has declared a Climate & Environmental Emergency, committed to a Carbon Net Zero 2030 goal, and the delivery of a …read more →

Residents for Uttlesford announce new ‘Residents Administration’ appointments at Uttlesford District Council

Residents for Uttlesford (R4U) has announced its key cabinet, portfolio and committee appointments since gaining control of Uttlesford District Council in the May 2019 local elections. The new administration includes …read more →

Cllr Arthur Coote

Arthur Coote is a well-respected Saffron Walden town councillor for the Castle ward. He was born in the town where he lives with his wife. He’s a director of the Bell Nursery and active in many other aspects of town life.

“I’m a strong believer that councils can work harder to do more to create an environment that allows the next generation to grow and give back to society. Through its actions R4U has shown it focuses on the issues that matter and cares about making a difference for local people. After years of being actively engaged with Labour, I joined R4U because they’ve shown that they are the party willing to work collaboratively for local people.” Arthur Coote

Several councillors have switched to R4U from the traditional parties because being free of a national agenda allows them to focus 100% on local residents with local issues.  Nationally Arthur is a long time Labour Party supporter. He was elected as a councillor to Saffron Walden Town Council in 2015 and to Uttlesford District Council in 2019. He is mayor of Saffron Walden for the 2019/2020 year.

WardRolesAbout/BioContact
Councillor at Saffron Walden Town Council, Councillor at Uttlesford District Council, Mayor (SWTC), Member: Assets and Services (SWTC), Member: Finance and Establishment (SWTC), Member: Local Joint Panel (UDC), Member: Planning and Road Traffic (SWTC), Member: Scrutiny Committee (UDC)

Arthur Coote is a well-respected Saffron Walden town councillor. He was born in the town where he lives with his wife. Arthur is active in many aspects of town life including the Baptist Church. Key interest areas for him are community, equality, youth development and sports.

He’s is a family man who is committed to youth development. Arthur is a director and manager of the Bell Nursery in Saffron Walden and member of the charity Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years (PACEY). Two of his children have followed him into education as both are head-teachers, and the third has followed a career in law.

Arthur is a lifelong member of Essex Cricket Club and a strong advocate for sports and healthy lifestyles. He’s been active in the funding and design of new playgrounds by Saffron Walden Town Council, and been working to provide more open spaces and sports facilities.

Nationally and locally Arthur has been a long-time supporter of the Labour Party. He was elected as a councillor to Saffron Walden Town Council in 2015 and serves as Mayor for the 2019/2020 year. Like a number of councillors from all the main national parties, he joined R4U to create a difference locally.

Arthur Coote says “Over the last 50 years I have taken part in hundreds of campaigns for Labour candidates. I have stood for office to try to create a more equal society and have been a member of the National Executive Committee of the Labour Party. Over the last 4 years it’s become clear that the best way to represent local residents and uphold the ideals I stand for at the district council is by joining R4U. R4U has shown they care about the community’s future and want to create a positive difference for local people. They’ve proven that they are the only party that has the skills and support to deliver for local people. In my mind it’s simple: I will continue to vote for Labour on national issues, but am standing for R4U to deliver local things for local residents. I urge others to vote local Resident for local matters.”

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Cllr Patrick Lavelle

Patrick’s career in the pharma sector will give him a unique perspective into one of our region’s important industries including being able to scrutinise UDC’s £50m investment in Chesterford Research Park.

“Residents need strong representation to ensure that their views and heard and acted on. One of the biggest concerns in the area is new housing. Along with new housing we need to protect the environment and include the necessary infrastructure and recreational facilities to support the needs of both current and future residents.” Patrick Lavelle

Patrick is an R4U councillor for the Uttlesford Dunmow South & Barnston Ward. The ward has 3 councillors and his R4U team mates are Colin Day and Rod Jones.

WardRolesAbout/BioContact
Chair: Licensing and Environmental Health Committee (UDC), Councillor at Great Dunmow Town Council, Councillor at Uttlesford District Council

Patrick Lavelle has taken early retirement after a successful 35 year career in the pharmaceutical industry. His career in the pharma sector will give him a unique perspective into one of our region’s most important industries, including being able to scrutinise UDC’s £50m investment in Chesterford Research Park.

Other areas that interest Patrick are policing and reducing crime, and the issues related to large new housing developments in the area.

If elected he would like to ensure that new housing proposals were properly scrutinised and development controlled to benefit residents. He would like to make sure that due consideration is given to the impact on the environment, on the local services (schools, medical facilities and recreational facilities) as well as supporting infrastructure including not just vehicular access but also public transport, cycling and walking access.

Patrick lives in the ward he wishes to represent.

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Cllr Rod Jones

Rod Jones lives in Dunmow with his wife. After nearly 25 years in the Armed Services defending democracy, he stood for R4U to do the same at a local level. In his spare time he’s an active part of the Friends of the Flitch Way.

“To be a councillor is a great honour and privilege. It takes hard work and dedication to properly represent your Town or Ward. Being elected as a councillor shouldn’t be dependent on the colour of your rosette and no matter the outcome of a decision or vote I will always look a person in the eye and say ‘I tried my best’.” Rod Jones

WardRolesAbout/BioContact
Councillor at Great Dunmow Town Council, Councillor at Uttlesford District Council, Member: Scrutiny Committee (UDC)

 Where you live and how long you’ve lived in the area?

I live in Great Dunmow and moved here in Jan 2015 after retiring from the Armed Forces (nearly 25 years of service). I have moved around a lot, visited and worked in many counties and countries; Dunmow is where my wife and I have chosen to make our home.

Any councillor (e.g. parish) or political experience you may have?

I have no previous political experience but I understand the difficulties of dealing with local issues and getting results that benefit all. I am pragmatic and realise you have to be willing to put your head above the parapet in order to make yours and others voices heard.

Any work details that you may want to highlight that add to your experience?

The military wasn’t the best place to practice democracy but it sure gave me a reason to defend it. I am determined, passionate, will not accept second best and will fight for anyone in my Town, Ward and District to ensure democracy is well and truly alive and kicking.

Are you involved in an community or residents’ groups, boards, charities, or volunteering?

I am a member of the Friends of the Flitch Way and when I can spare the time I volunteer for their work parties to help maintain the nationally recognised bridleway and cycle trail.

I have campaigned to improve a local byway damaged by irresponsible ‘off-roaders’ that has encompassed a multi-agency approach.

Why did you stand, what are your hot topics and what would you like to achieve?

Local politics by local people, after all we all have to live with the decisions made in our name now and into the future. Houses are built; homes and communities are made by the people in them. My achievement will be to do what a councillor is elected to do and fairly represent those that elected me. If I do that, its achievement enough!

Why did you think standing for Residents for Uttlesford is important?

Local government decisions should not be based on the colour of a rosette or what you have been ‘whipped’ to make. Hard decisions have to be made and so should be done on evidence, cross party and with without forgetting the effect on current and future generations. After all we are human and making people’s lives better or trying to mitigate the negative effects of policy decisions is what our councillors should be striving to achieve.

R4U and other such likeminded councillors are trying to do this, however the current structure of the council means they are out voted. In the ideal world this shouldn’t matter, in the real world it does and so the district needs more ‘non-politically’ but resident centric councillors.

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Cllr Geof Driscoll

Geof has lived in the district for over 22 years and was a parish councillor for 8. After a 30 year career in senior management in the road haulage industry, he is well qualified to lead transport, highways, road safety and parking initiatives.

“I believe that it is time to fight for the rights of residents in Uttlesford. I feel that there is a correct balance between protecting our heritage and investing in the future for the youth of our district. I strongly believe that we, the residents of Uttlesford, have a right to control local issues not be told by national parties “this is what will be good for you.” Geof Driscoll

WardRolesAbout/BioContact
Councillor at Uttlesford District Council, Member: Licensing and Environmental Health Committee (UDC), Member: Scrutiny Committee (UDC)

Where do you live?

I have lived in Birchanger for the last 22+ years with my wife Angie.

Do you have any councillor or political experience?

I served on the Birchanger Parish Council for eight years in the early 2000s until work responsibilities altered my available hours, which meant I didn’t believe I could serve to the high standards that I believe the residents I was representing were entitled to.

Any work details that you may want to highlight that add to your experience?

I am a qualified transport manager, with over 30 years of international experience including divisional management for a blue-chip multinational organisation. I have operated my own transport consultancy (compliance and training) since 2009 and am an avid supporter of Road Safety.

Do you participate in community or residents’ groups, boards, or charities?

I was Birchanger’s local Poppy Appeal organiser for 15 years raising approximately £50,000 for ex-servicemen and women. I currently sit on the Birchanger Sports and Social Club committee, as well as on the Freight Transport Association Easton Region Council.

What would you like to achieve as a councillor?

I love the village/district and county I live in and want to help to stop it being spoiled. I enjoy helping people and wish to represent their views at council meetings. I want to fight for the rights of residents. I believe in the right type of housing in the right place, with the right infrastructure in place before building commences; and to make sure that large profit-making organisations pay their way and are not a drain on the public purse.

Highways and road safety topics are probably my strength and I have already started weekly surgeries in Hatfield Broad Oak, for any residents to discuss issues pertaining to the village/ward or personal to themselves. I believe that the whole council should pull together and work as a team for the benefits of residents in Uttlesford, not for party glory. I don’t believe in party whips – cooperation will achieve much more.

Why did you stand for Residents for Uttlesford?

As residents of Uttlesford national issues and local issues rarely carry the same weight in our daily lives. Of course, everyone has the right to vote for which person/party they wish, but only locally focused parties can deliver specific local democracy. By providing real, transparent leadership R4U, at a local level is representing our local interests.

By reorganising the way UDC is structured, and by using the best skills and tools available, R4U will be able to deliver higher levels of services. But we all need to work together to achieve this. Let’s all make sure we make the most of where we love to live – together.

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Cllr John Evans

Combining his local knowledge and skills as a solicitor, John chairs the Stebbing Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group. He’s lived in Uttlesford since 1982. He is particularly interested in protecting our many heritage assets and landscape, believing it must be fully respected. He is one of the 2 R4U Uttlesford District Councillors for the Felsted and Stebbing ward.

“Our villages are facing unprecedented change with the risk of Stebbing and Felsted effectively becoming part of Braintree as it expands west under UDC’s “Garden Community” proposal. My running mate Sandi and I believe residents should have a greater say. We don’t have a national party agenda – we will listen to what concerns YOU and promote only residents interests, whether it relates to the proposed new town, airport, affordable housing, traffic, broadband or anything else.” John Evans

WardRolesAbout/BioContact
Councillor at Uttlesford District Council, Member: Scrutiny Committee (UDC)

Combining his local knowledge and skills as a solicitor, John chairs the Stebbing Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group. He’s lived in Uttlesford since 1982. He is particularly interested in protecting our many heritage assets and landscape, believing it must be fully respected.

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Cllr Neil Reeve

Neil Reeve is a highly experienced chartered engineer with 40+ years’ experience. He was previously chair of an industry division of ISO, the prestigious international standard-setting body. His experience will be invaluable in helping the council solve its infrastructure deficits. He is a councillor at High Easter Parish Council and at Uttlesford District Council. In his spare time he volunteers for nature conservancy causes.

“It’s very straightforward. I’ve become increasingly frustrated by the current district council. They are driven by Westminster policy. I stood because I believed that it is time for a change. It’s very important that residents are listened to. We need local residents’ views, local decisions, and more local infrastructure.” Neil Reeve

WardRolesAbout/BioContact
Chair: Standards Committee (UDC), Councillor at High Easter Parish Council, Councillor at Uttlesford District Council, Member: Scrutiny Committee (UDC)

Where you live and how long you’ve lived in the area?

I live in High Easter with my wife, Loes. We’ve were lucky to buy our home in High Easter about 20 years ago. Since my retirement in 2012 I have become increasingly involved in village, parish and local issues. Prior to this we lived and worked all over the world, including Malaysia, South Korea, Denmark, New Zealand and The Netherlands.

Our three children each have their own families (giving us 5 grandchildren in total) and lead diverse lives. One lives in Kent and works for Kent County Council. One lives in Holland and works in the University of Utrecht Library. One is currently working for Oxfam in Myanmar.

Any councillor or political experience you may have?

I am a member of the High Easter Parish Council. In this respect I have been putting energy into the Stansted Airport issues, village affordable housing and local broadband. I have learned that local infrastructure issues must not be ignored.

Any work details that you may want to highlight that add to your experience?

I am a Chartered Engineer with approximately 40 years of international experience. I worked with Royal Dutch Shell until I retired from them in 2012. For the first third of my career I worked as a Structural Engineer designing, building and maintaining offshore platforms. Thereafter I developed Shell’s system of specifications and standards for all their operations worldwide. In this capacity, I became chair of the committee in the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) responsible for international standards the oil and gas industry. I still have this role till mid-2019. I have learned how to listen to very diverse groups and lead the parties to an agreement (a consensus standard).

Are you involved in any community or residents’ groups, boards, charities, or volunteering?

I’m a director, trustee and treasurer of the East of England Apples and Orchards Project (EEAOP). This is a charity, with a trading arm (i.e. under Charities Commission and Companies House), whose aim is the collect and conserve the region’s heritage fruit trees; and get these (re-)planted throughout the region.

I am also a treasurer, and committee member of the Essex Beekeepers Association (EBKA) (Braintree Division).

What would you like to achieve as a councillor?

It’s very straightforward. I’ve become increasingly frustrated by the current district council. They are driven by Westminster policy. I believe that it is time for a change. I’ve got the energy to put into this. It’s very important that we listen to residents, and I’ll be going out of my way to listen to get their views. We need local residents’ views, local decisions, and more local infrastructure.

I am new to district council politics, but I am a parish councillor. Following the development of the UDC Local Plan and the application for the expansion of Stansted Airport, it has become apparent to me that the current administration doesn’t properly address essential infrastructure issues. I want to see this behaviour reversed.

During my working life, I used a motto “Cooperation not Competition”. I think that this can also apply in local politics.

Why did you stand for Residents for Uttlesford?

I have been impressed that in a short time Residents for Uttlesford has made an impact: not only in Saffron Walden, but also at Uttlesford District Council. In order to make a larger impact, R4U needs to control the UDC. I hope therefore that with the support of residents, who are not happy with some of the recent decision-making, R4U can win sufficient councillors to gain that control.

The key point is that R4U is a party for local issues, not national ones. It can therefore be more agile to steer the district council in a direction that residents in the Uttlesford want, rather than as directed by a Westminster-based party.

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Cllr Sandi Merifield

Sandi Merifield is very active in Stebbing. She has served on Stebbing Parish Council for 12 years, is vice-chair of the council, and chairs the Save Our Stebbing sub-committee. She is volunteers in the village store and is the local coordinator of the Poppy Appeal Collection. She is one of the 2 R4U Uttlesford District Councillors for the Felsted and Stebbing ward.

“I believe in listening and working with the community, fighting for the rights of residents and aiming to find the balance between protecting our communities and enhancing our children’s future.” Sandi Merifield

WardRolesAbout/BioContact
Chair: Planning Committee (UDC), Councillor at Stebbing Parish Council, Councillor at Uttlesford District Council

Sandi says:

I live in Stebbing with my husband Peter, our two dog and two cats. We moved here nearly 25years ago with our three children and have counted ourselves lucky ever since to be part of this community.

I am Vice-Chair of Stebbing Parish Council and over the past 12 years have served on most of its committees, being chair of Greens and Planning. I am the chair of the Save Our Stebbing sub committee, which represents the wishes of the local community fighting to stop the building of the West of Braintree so called Garden Community. I have also worked collaboratively and successfully on gaining an ‘Asset of Community Value’ for Andrewsfield.

Stebbing has the community run Village Stores where I volunteer once a week enjoying meeting members of our community and passing customers. I coordinate the Poppy Appeal Collection annually in Stebbing and am a member of the Stebbing Fete organising committee. Having had a career in Education in both secondary schools and colleges I am now a governor at a local Nursery & Primary school.

We all love and appreciate living in this area and whilst I do accept the need for new homes and change, I truly feel that the communities of Felsted and Stebbing are not being listened to especially in relation to West of Braintree with little regard to what we the communities say or want.

I believe in listening and working with the community, fighting for the rights of residents and aiming to find the balance between protecting our communities and enhancing our children’s future.

I have long believed that National party politics should not play a part in local democracy. Local issues need to be addressed by a locally focussed party that understands and supports local interests. I believe that R4U will, by reorganising how UDC is structured and utilising the best skills available. By working together with our communities we will achieve this.

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