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 Deryk Eke

Deryk is a Chartered Civil Engineer who has lived in the area for more than 17 years. During his career he has delivered many major £billon infrastructure projects worldwide. His experience will be a huge asset to the district, helping it solve the major infrastructure issues we face.

“The council must be prepared to stand up for the residents and demand developers give back to the community. I believe with my experience and passion for delivering successful projects I can help hold them to account, whilst improving our quality of life across Uttlesford.” Deryk Eke

WardRolesAbout/BioContact
Chair: Finance and Establishment (SWTC), Councillor at Saffron Walden Town Council, Councillor at Uttlesford District Council, Portfolio Holder: Infrastructure, Transport and Stansted Airport (UDC), Vice Chair: Standards Committee (UDC)

Deryk Eke is a recently retired Chartered Civil Engineer with over 40 years’ experience of delivering major national infrastructure projects worldwide including in America, Europe, South East Asia and back home in the UK.

He was raised in Lower Sheering and schooled nearby in Sawbridgeworth and Harlow. He has been married for nearly 40 years and lived in and around the Saffron Walden area for more than 30 years.

In 1994 he and his wife returned from a major project in Hong Kong. Deryk says that they were “living in Great Bardfield at the time, but managed to secure places for our children at Saffron Walden County High, not something you could hope to do now!”

Since they moved into Saffron Walden town, Deryk says that the “explosion in house building, increase in traffic, deterioration in air quality, and lack of school and medical facilities” are all aspects that he and his children noticed more and more, and that is part of what has spurred him on to stand to represent other residents.

He says that “The district council must be prepared to stand up for the residents and demand developers give back to the community, and R4U is the best party to make that happen because it only answers to local people.”

Deryk belies that “with my experience and passion for delivering successful projects I can help improve our quality of life and better living environment across Uttlesford.”

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Cllr Heather Asker

Heather, a councillor since 2007, serves on numerous town and district committees, and works on many ward issues, including parking, road safety and speed reduction. She was the Saffron Walden Mayor in 2015 and 2016 is very active in promoting the market and the vitality of the town centre.

“I am passionate about the heart of our town, our fabulous market, now known as one of the best in East Anglia & regularly featured in the national press. I am particularly proud of the achievements within the Town and District I have been involved with, including the refurbishments to the Saffron Walden Town Hall and Market Square, new paths on The Common, new play equipment, and the improvement street cleaning since taking it over from UDC.” Cllr Heather Asker

She resigned the Conservative Party whip in October 2014 to join Residents for Uttlesford as a founding councillor so that she could better serve the local residents that elected her.

WardRolesAbout/BioContact
Councillor at Saffron Walden Town Council, Councillor at Uttlesford District Council, Portfolio Holder: Council and Public Service Delivery (UDC), Vice Chair: Assets and Services (SWTC), Vice Chair: Standards Committee (UDC)

Cllr Heather Asker is a well respected and experienced Uttlesford District Councillor, Saffron Walden Town Councillor and former Mayor. She was first elected in 2007 for Saffron Walden Castle ward, where she has worked on numerous residents’ issues. She serves on UDC’s Scrutiny and Standards Committee and the Highways Panel.

Whilst being a councillor she has worked on many local ward and town centre issues, including planning and development, parking, road safety and speed reduction programmes. She is particualry proud of the initiatives that she’s driven and supported in Saffron Walden including the refurbishment of the Town Hall, new Common paths and play equipment, the takeover of street cleaning from UDC, and the paving of the market square.

She says she’s “Passionate about the heart of the Town, our fabulous market, now known as one of the best in East Anglia which is regularly featured in the national press.

She works closely with her other ward councillor, R4U’s Richard Freeman. Both have recently worked tirelessly to hold developer Persimmon to account to deliver a safe play area on Tudor Park and new sports fields on Line Avenue.

Professionally Heather has a career in sales. She has lived in Saffron Walden since 1984 where her daughter attended the County High School.

She joined Residents for Uttlesford as a founding councillor from the Conservatives in October 2014.

 

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Cllr John Lodge

John is chairman of Residents for Uttlesford and the party’s co-founder. He was first elected as a councillor in 2013. Since then he has worked hard to hold our councils to account on residents issues, including the Local Plan, planning and development, pollution and the environment, education and schools, proper transport infrastructure, and saving The Fairycroft Youth Centre.

“The national political parties are forcing policies onto local residents that they don’t want and don’t need. It’s time politics became local once more and residents got to decide for themselves.” John Lodge

At UDC John is the R4U Party Leader. He has served on the Planning Committee and (Local Plan) Planning Policy Working Group. Previously John was Chief Executive of a FTSE company, and has been chairman and on the board of directors of many private and public organisations, including a Health Enterprise Council and a member of a Department of Health finance committee.

WardRolesAbout/BioContact
Councillor at Uttlesford District Council, Leader of the Council (UDC), Portfolio Holder: Planning and the Local Plan (UDC)

John Lodge was first elected in May 2013. He is an Uttlesford District Councillor for the Saffron Walden Shire Ward, is R4U Leader at UDC and chairman of the party.

John has been a resident of Saffron Walden for almost 50 years and during that time he has served the community in a wide variety of volunteer roles. He has served as Chairman of a Parish Council, School Governor, Chairman of a Village Hall Committee, President of a Cricket Club, Committee Member of a Choral Society and a trustee of the charity funding the exciting new concert hall at SWCHS. He was also an Essex Ambassador at the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics.

In the public sector he has recently served as a Non-Executive Director of Papworth Hospital NHS Trust where he was Chairman of its Charitable Capital Appeal. He is currently Chairman of the Embryonic Heart & Lung Research Institute which is a joint venture with Cambridge University.

In the commercial sector he has also served as Chairman of a restaurant group, a property company, an investment fund and medical device company. He has also been a Non-Executive Director of an enterprise council and a member of a Department of Health finance committee.

John believes that UDC could do more about affordable housing. He is an investor in a number of affordable housing schemes, all in the north of England. John’s latest scheme is turning a building abandoned by HMRC into 95 dwellings. They are modern, well equipped one and two bedroom flats, all designed to be priced affordably at under £80,000 to allow new home owners to enter the property ladder. Additionally the centralised heating system is highly efficient to reduce the environmental impact and cost for home owners. John says that one of the attractions the site chosen is that it is within easy walking distance of the town centre’s amenities and so adds to the development’s green credentials. John believes that developments like this could be adopted here by Uttlesford District Council to address the shortfall in housing affordability.

Previously he commuted from Audley End to London where he worked in a variety of IT roles in the finance industry with his final position as Chief Executive of a FTSE technology company.

Sports car enthusiast John is also a keen sportsman and plays cricket, rugby and golf for local clubs. He also sings with the Saffron Walden Choral Society.

He first visited Saffron Walden in the 1960s when he was a student in Cambridge; his wife and he chose to return when their children were young and his wife went on to be academic head of Bell College.

All of the time in the area has made them both great lovers and supporters of the Saffron Walden way of life and have inspired him to do whatever he can to protect it. Whilst he wishes to protect the Saffron Walden way of life, he is conscious that the town must progress. John believes that the way to achieve sustainable growth is to plan building and infrastructure in an integrated manner.

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