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

Council Roles

Councillor at Uttlesford District Council, Energy and Climate Change Working Group (UDC), Governance, Audit and Performance Committee (UDC), Highways Panel (UDC), Scrutiny Committee (UDC)

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Read full councillor profiles, declarations of interest, portfolio ownership and committee membership on specific council websites

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 two 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

    Council Roles

    Cooperation for Sustainable Development Board (UDC), Councillor at Uttlesford District Council, Governance Review Working Group (UDC), Harlow and Gilston Garden Town Board (UDC), Local Government Association - SPARSE Rural Assembly (UDC), Local Plan Working Group (UDC), Portfolio Holder: Planning and the Local Plan (UDC)

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    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

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      Council Roles

      Councillor at High Easter Parish Council, Councillor at Uttlesford District Council

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      Read full councillor profiles, declarations of interest, portfolio ownership and committee membership on specific council websites

      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 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 Roles

        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 Louise Pepper

          Louise has a finance background. However her real passion is our natural environment. She’s on the Stop Easton Park committee and wants to make sure our varied habitat and wildlife are protected. In her spare time around raising her family she volunteers for community initiatives.

          “Our historical market town of Great Dunmow is the heart of our local community and its unique character and rural setting is integral to its intrinsic identity. Over development in this region will cause serious harm to its special heritage, environment, local population and wildlife.” Louise Pepper

          Louse is one of R4U’s councillors for the Uttlesford District Council Great Dunmow North Ward. The ward has two councillors, the other being R4U’s Cllr Alex Armstrong.

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          Council Roles

          Councillor at Uttlesford District Council, Member: Governance, Audit and Performance Committee (UDC), Portfolio Holder: Environment and Green Issues (UDC), Portfolio Holder: Equalities (UDC)

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          Read full councillor profiles, declarations of interest, portfolio ownership and committee membership on specific council websites

          Louise Pepper’s background is in accounting. She is an active campaigner on environment issues and R4U’s spokesperson on Climate Change. For the last 12 years she and her family have lived in the Dunmow area.

          Her role on the Stop Easton Park Steering Group committee has given her much stronger connection to this region’s rich past, natural habitat and varied wildlife.

          UDC’s proposed new town of 10,000 houses at historic Easton Park would effectively join Great Dunmow, Little Easton and Takeley. By comparison Great Dunmow currently has 4,000 households and Takeley 1,400.

          Her commitment to preserving the local area’s important historical landscape, is very important to her.

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            Cllr James de Vries

            An Uttlesford resident since 1985, James has a background in aviation, has worked closely with Stansted Airport and specialises in commercial IT. He has spearheaded local business networking initiatives and runs a small sports club in his spare time.

            “It is important that we retain the natural beauty and heritage of our communities. I’m concerned about the impacts of large housing developments, rural broadband, policing, traffic, and local school places. I’m also keen to tackle the smaller issues that affect quality of life, such as speeding, fly-tipping, travellers, potholes and recycling.“ James de Vries

            James is a councillor for both the Uttlesford District Ashdon Ward and Saffron Walden Town Council.

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            Council Roles

            Assets and Services (SWTC), Councillor at Saffron Walden Town Council, Councillor at Uttlesford District Council, Governance, Audit and Performance Committee (UDC), Investment Board (UDC), Planning Committee (UDC), Scrutiny Committee (UDC)

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            Read full councillor profiles, declarations of interest, portfolio ownership and committee membership on specific council websites

            James de Vries has been an Uttlesford resident since 1985.

            For work he specialises in commercial IT and has a background in aviation working closely with Stansted Airport. In the local community he has spearheaded local business networking initiatives and runs a small sports club in his spare time.

            James says “It is important that we retain the natural beauty and heritage of our communities. I’m concerned about the impacts of large housing developments, rural broadband, policing, traffic, and local school places. I’m also keen to tackle the smaller issues that affect quality of life, such as speeding, fly-tipping, travellers, potholes and recycling.“

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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 is an asset to Uttlesford District Council, 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

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              Council Roles

              Assets of Community Value and Local Heritage List Committee (UDC), Councillor at Saffron Walden Town Council, Councillor at Uttlesford District Council, Highways Panel (UDC), North Essex Parking Partnership (UDC), Portfolio Holder: Infrastructure, Transport and Stansted Airport (UDC), Stansted Airport Advisory Panel (UDC), Uttlesford Transport Forum (UDC)

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              Read full councillor profiles, declarations of interest, portfolio ownership and committee membership on specific council websites

              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 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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                Council Roles

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

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                Read full councillor profiles, declarations of interest, portfolio ownership and committee membership on specific council websites

                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 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, 2016, 2019 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.

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                  Council Roles

                  Community Achievement Panel (UDC), Councillor at Saffron Walden Town Council, Councillor at Uttlesford District Council, Governance, Audit and Performance Committee (UDC), Mayor (SWTC), Standards Committee (UDC)

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                  Cllr Heather Asker is a well respected and experienced Uttlesford District Councillor, Saffron Walden Town Councillor and has been town Mayor a number of times. She was first elected in 2007 for Saffron Walden Castle ward, where she has worked on numerous residents’ issues.

                  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 Leader of the Council at UDC. He is a co-founder of Residents for Uttlesford. 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

                    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.

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                    Councillor at Uttlesford District Council, Investment Board (UDC), Leader of the Council (UDC), Local Government Association - General Assembly (UDC), London Stansted Cambridge Consortium (UDC), Voluntary Support Grant Committee (UDC)

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                    Read full councillor profiles, declarations of interest, portfolio ownership and committee membership on specific council websites

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

                    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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