R4U opposes government moves to strip away local planning control that could see ‘tens-of-thousands of houses dumped on Uttlesford’

Residents for Uttlesford (R4U) is strongly opposed to the government’s proposals to strip control of planning from local councils. R4U vice chair Dan Starr said “We must be clear; this …read more →

Cllr Sandi Merifield

Sandi Merifield is very active in Stebbing and has served on Stebbing Parish Council for 12 years. 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, and chairs the UDC Planning Committee.

“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

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Council for Voluntary Service – Uttlesford (UDC), Councillor at Stebbing Parish Council, Councillor at Uttlesford District Council, Housing Board (UDC), Local Plan Working Group (UDC), Planning Committee (UDC)

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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 have served on Stebbing Parish Councillor for over 12 years including on most of its committees. I have spent a number of years working on local planning issues, including representing the local community for the proposed West of Braintree Garden Community. I have also worked collaboratively and successfully on gaining an ‘Asset of Community Value’ for Andrewsfield. At UDC I chair the Planning Committee.

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 with regard to what communities 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 is, by reorganising how UDC is structured and using the best skills available. By working together with our communities we will achieve this.

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Cllr Maggie Sutton

With long and strong ties to Takeley, Maggie is an experienced and active campaigner on many issues which directly affect residents and the quality of living in Uttlesford. She’s on the executive committee of Stop Stansted Expansion and Stop Easton Park, the proposed new town of 10,000 homes that will connect Dunmow and Takeley.

“I am truly passionate about this area. Having been embedded in Takeley life for years, know the importance of community. We need to care for the specialness of our history and archaeology, the uniqueness of our countryside, and we need strong residents’ representation to make sure proper strategic plans are created for our future.” Maggie Sutton

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Councillor at Uttlesford District Council, Member: Governance, Audit and Performance Committee (UDC), Member: Planning Committee (UDC)

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Maggie Sutton is an experienced and active campaigner on local issues. She believes that to make a difference people have to get up and get involved.

Maggie knows the importance of community. She knows that Takeley has a strong active community, good schools and nursery, along with many clubs and associations at its heart. She served as a Governor at Takeley Roseacres School for during the period its move to the new site.

She is also passionate about the local area, its history, archaeology, and countryside.

Maggie has been a member of the executive committee of Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) since its inception in 2002, working out of the office at The Old School in Takeley for much of that time. She says that being part of SSE has “given me a massive opportunity to become familiar with every part Takeley where I have attended and helped organise many consultation, campaign, outreach and fundraising events. Through that I have association with many Parish council representatives and many, many people who live in the area.”

Of the airport, she says “I am very aware what being a neighbour to Stansted Airport means for Takeley residents. Clearly there are jobs, but also major concerns about noise, light and air pollution, and major traffic and parking issues.”

Maggie serves on the committee of campaign group Stop Easton Park. Easton Park is Uttlesford District Council’s proposed new town of 10,000 homes that will in-effect connect Dunmow and Takeley across the A120. She believes that the siting of the new town will be extremely detrimental to the area of historic area of Easton Park and beyond. She believes that strategic planning must be undertaken and proper controls put in place to protect the uniqueness of our countryside as our district expands.

Maggie realised she needed to take the next step to represent residents.

She said “As I attend UDC council meetings on matters such as housing and the airport I become very concerned and anxious. I saw that those elected to represent us here simply take their lead from the party they represent in parliament. It seems evident that local people do not matter to them. Putting my name forward as a Residents candidate to represent Takeley and the communities of Broxted, Chickney, and Little Canfield is not something I take lightly. I know I must give you a 100percent commitment. I truly believe, Residents for Uttlesford provide the ONLY platform we have to be properly represented at in the district council.”

Maggie Sutton has strong family and community ties to the Takeley ward. She lived in Boxted for many years while her children were growing up. She has five grown up children, all which live in Uttlesford. She currently lives in Lindsell with her family.

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Cllr Alan Storah

Alan has lived in Uttlesford for more than 20 years. After a career as a professional Town Planner he is now devoting his time and energy to other challenges including benefiting the community at large. Alan has helped numerous Uttlesford residents’ groups and town/parish councils resist unsustainable planning applications.

“I consider Uttlesford to be the best place to live, and I love it here. It is important we need to protect what’s best as the district grows because once it’s gone, it can’t be replaced. I’d like to ensure that future housing developments are in the best locations and of a high quality with all the required facilities. I also want to work to make the council really deliver quality of life improvements for all.” ” Alan Storah

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Councillor at Uttlesford District Council, Member: Planning Committee (UDC)

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Alan Storah has been an Uttlesford resident for more than 20 years.   He moved here with his family because it offered access to his place of work, good schooling and a very attractive and desirable area in which to live.   He has lived in various towns and cities across the country but considers Uttlesford to be by far and away the best district.  Alan is very keen to ensure that our villages and towns continue to provide a wonderful place in which to live for both current and future residents, whilst it also embraces the changes necessary to meet the modern-day needs of people and businesses.

Alan has spent many years as a Town Planner in local government during which he has worked in a range of different authorities throughout the UK.  He is now a self-employed planning consultant.  In that capacity he has worked with both residents’ groups and town and parish councils across Uttlesford.   This has often entailed opposing unsustainable major housing proposals which would have serious adverse impacts in terms of their impact upon the landscape, traffic congestion, pollution, infrastructure capacity etc. and, generally, do not constitute what is a considered ‘sustainable’ development.

His leisure time pursuits include playing tennis and gardening.

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Cllr Garry LeCount

An experienced entrepreneur in the media industry, Garry has been a senior executive for companies including EMI, Carlton TV and ITV. He is one of the two Elsenham and Henham district councillors and has served on Henham parish council Since 2015. He has lived in Henham for more than 35 years.

“In 2017 you trusted Petrina Lees and I with your district council vote. Since then we’ve worked as a team to protect and enhance village life. We’ve dealt with many local issues, such as the road resurfacing outside the Elsenham shops, travellers, railway crossings and highway issues including speeding.” Garry LeCount

At UDC Garry is a member of the Investment Committee, where he is able to scrutinise council investments using his significant career experience in buying and selling media companies.

Garry is also Vice Chair of the UDC Scrutiny Committee. I will allow him to monitor of district’s new Local Plan as it progresses over the current council term. He says that it is his “objective to get a fair and sound plan that will be acceptable to all and protect our villages and towns from unsustainable mass development.”

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Council Roles

Councillor at Henham Parish Council, Councillor at Uttlesford District Council, Essex Police, Fire and Crime Panel (UDC), Investment Board (UDC), Planning Committee (UDC), Scrutiny Committee (UDC), Standards Committee (UDC), Stansted Airport Advisory Panel (UDC)

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Garry LeCount is an experienced entrepreneur in the media industry, and has been a senior executive for companies including EMI and Carlton TV and ITV. He and his wife have lived in Henham for 36 years.

He is one of the two Elsenham and Henham district councillors and serves on Henham parish council. At Uttlesford District Council he is a vice chair of the Scrutiny committee that brings to account the Councils decisions that fall below the standards that residents expect. He is also a key member of the council’s Investment Committee. He is also a member of both the Stansted Airport Community Trust and Uttlesford Transport Forum.

At Henham Parish Council his responsibilities include highways, footpaths, web site and a new local information brochure. He was instrumental in closing a dangerous railway pedestrian crossing in Henham and as a district councillor in the resurfacing of the road outside the shops in Elsenham. He works to continue to bring positive changes to local issues by driving them through UDC and ECC.

Elsewhere in the ward he serves as a committee member on the PPG (Patient Participation Group) at Elsenham Surgery.

Garry is very concerned about unsustainable mass-homebuilding in the villages. In 2018 he voted to submit the Uttlesford Local Plan to Government, to stop uncontrolled additional housing and expansion in Henham, Elsenham and the rest of the district.

Outside of the village he has built a successful career as a serial managing director and senior executive in the music and video industry, with leadership roles in companies such as EMI and Carlton TV and ITV. He currently works as Financial Director for his son building a group of successful media companies.

He has a daughter with two children, and when not working he enjoys golf, music history, and being with his young grandchildren.

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Cllr Geoff Bagnall

Geoff Bagnall has been selected by R4U for the Uttlesford District Council 2019 local elections. He is a Takeley Parish Councillor and Vice Chair since 2011. Geoff is committed to creating greater local community involvement in shaping the future of Uttlesford. He stood as an independent candidate in 2015.  He joined R4U in 2019 and was elected to Uttlesford District Council for Takeley ward.

“I believe we need local representation at Uttlesford rather than the mainstream political parties if we are to secure the proper future for our communities. There is great support for local decisions on the doorstep.” Geoff Bagnall

WardRolesAbout/BioContact

Council Roles

Councillor at Takeley Parish Council, Councillor at Uttlesford District Council, Governance, Audit and Performance Committee (UDC), Investment Board (UDC), Local Plan Working Group (UDC), Planning Committee (UDC)

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Geoff Bagnall moved to Takeley in 2009 and since then has been actively involved with the Parish Council.

He says “I am absolutely convinced that we need strong representation at a local level to ensure we are able to build the community in the right way. I believe we need it to be LOCAL representation at Uttlesford District Council rather than the mainstream political parties if we are to secure the proper future for our communities.

Geoff has spent his career in the banking and finance sector. During that time he has held various roles, most of which have required him to look at making improvements to processes and implement organisational change.  He says “To help me achieve success in these roles, one of the key capabilities has been the ability to communicate and drive consensus across teams, as that’s the way you get things done.  To do that I have built up a large network of relationships, which you need to work through complex problems with a number of stakeholders.”

These core skills of communication and network building will stand Geoff in good stead to help resolve the many issues at Uttlesford District Council and Essex County Council.

Locally he is particularly keen to ensure that planning decisions are taken for the benefit of the district as a whole, and that they include all infrastructure provisioning at the same time, for example, schools, medical centres, roads and utilities. He said he remembers once asking a now former Conservative District Councillor about the lack of school places when planning decisions were made at Uttlesford District Council. Geoff said “The Councillor replied that schools are the responsibility of Essex not Uttlesford District Council”. Geoff says he disagrees and believes that responsibly cannot be shirked. He believes that things like school places should be “very much part of planning decision making and that deciding in isolation is to the detriment of existing communities.

 

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