Local Elections 2017: Vote Residents not Politicians

Westminster parties simply can’t be trusted with prioritising our local issues.
Cllr John Lodge, R4U ChairCllr John Lodge R4U Chair
Picking fights with our teachers, doctors, nurses and police directly impacts local families every day. And recently the Central Government even passed a bill to force UDC to sell nearly all of our council houses, which will directly impact those that can’t afford to buy homes.

The choice is quite clear. Do we want national political parties and their career politicians telling us what to do locally, or should we decide for ourselves? In 2013 many Uttlesford residents wanted a change so they elected their first residents’ councillors. There are now Residents for Uttlesford councillors at all 3 levels of local government, county, district and towns/parishes -  we are the second party on Uttlesford District Council. In 2017 we’d like to see councillors in more Essex county divisions in Uttlesford that only answer to one boss, residents.

R4U has the trust of local voters. In the Elsenham & Henham ward district by-election in February R4U won more votes than all the national parties combined.

Votes cast in Elsenham & Henham District By-Election (February 2017)

As well as the Essex County Council elections on 4th May, the Newport District Ward of Newport, Quendon, Rickling and Widdington is also having a by-election on the same day.

Your 2017 Residents Candidates: Essex County Council

Here are our candidates for the May 2017 local Essex County Council elections. Click on them to find out more:

Your 2017 Residents Candidate: Uttlesford Newport Ward

Anthony Gerard is our candidate for the 4th May 2017 Uttlesford Newport by-election.

Cllr Geoff Bagnall

Cllr Geoff Bagnall

Experienced councillor Geoff Bagnall is the chair of the new UDC Local Plan working group. He’s standing against the ECC councillor whose 2 previous failed Local Plans cost Uttlesford taxpayers £6m. Outside of the council he has a career fixing performance at financial companies and the skills to drive improvements. He’s standing for the ECC Dunmow Division.
Bianca Donald

Bianca Donald

Bianca Donald has taught in our schools since 2004 and understands parents’ frustration as budgets have been slashed and local school choice eradicated. She’s standing against Ray Gooding, the ECC cabinet member who is responsible for Education and the school bus safety fiasco. Bianca feels that with better representation ECC can be more responsive to Uttlesford residents’ needs.
Cllr Martin Foley

Cllr Martin Foley

Thaxted resident Martin has been a UDC councillor since 1995. His long tenure is because he’s very active in his community and always focuses on putting his ward residents’ needs first. He’s a visible campaigner for our rural environment and has worked to save Thaxted library from ECC cuts. He’s fought against airport expansion and the proposed new green-field town in Easton Park.
Cllr Paul Gadd

Cllr Paul Gadd

Paul Gadd is the Leader at Saffron Walden Town Council where over 6 years he’s led the turnaround from inherited financial mess to now award-winning Best Council in Essex. He’s a lawyer by career and very community minded. He volunteers with Saffron Walden Cricket Club, the Fry Art Gallery and Bridge End Gardens as well as being heavily involved with the local branches of Friends of the Earth and Amnesty International.

Find out about becoming a councillor

Who are Residents for Uttlesford?
Residents for Uttlesford (R4U) was formed by Uttlesford residents who wanted to take an active role in creating the future for where they live. Working alongside local residents groups and associations across Uttlesford and Essex, we have promoted an independent voice in local government and championed local communities, away from Westminster policies and politics. Residents have elected our councillors to all 3 levels of local government, county, district and towns/parishes. We are looking for new people to join the team and represent residents at the county level.
Who represents Residents at Essex County Council?
There are 4 county councillors in Essex that represent Uttlesford. There is one for each of the divisions: Saffron Walden, Dunmow, Stansted, Thaxted.

Residents stood their first ECC candidate in the Saffron Walden division in 2013 and he was elected. R4U’s Cllr John Lodge is currently our only residents’ county councillor. In May 2017 we want all 4 to be R4U councillors.

Why? Because we see big-party politics as a real problem in local government. ECC makes up 75% of our council tax bills but national agendas are being ridden roughshod over local needs. We need our schools, roads and healthcare sorting out and it’s not being done. We have to ask ourselves, do they work for us or their Westminster bosses?

We’re trusted by locals and we know what we’re doing. We’ve been running Residents for Uttlesford for some time now and residents have elected our councillors to all 3 local government levels and across our district.

How can a minority group make a difference?
We feel that local support for independent representation in local government has grown even deeper over the last 4 years. With over 150 independent and minority groups councillors across Essex, you would be supported by a close network of representatives working for their local communities not national interests.

At Essex County Council R4U’s Cllr John Lodge has been a member of the Independent group of councillors who play a key role in scrutinising policy, lobbying for change and acting as advocates for their constituents. As the independent movement grows, so does the platform with which to enact change.

What does an Essex County Councillor do?
County Councillors should first and foremost, represent their constituents. They deal with residents’ queries and requests in the areas that ECC have control over. Councillors make decisions about the services that are provided by the council, taking part in council meetings where they are called upon to vote, and in committees that deal with specific projects, issues and services.

Key areas that Essex County Council is responsible include:

  • Education;
  • Highways;
  • Health & social care;
  • Environment & strategic planning.
Do I get paid for it?
Essex County Councillors are paid a basic allowance of £12,000 p.a. to enable them to undertake their duties, which are:

  1. Being available and accessible to all of the constituents in their electoral division;
  2. Preparing for and attending all formal and informal meetings that they are invited to;
  3. Representing the interests of the whole council area.

Some councillors have additional responsibilities and they are entitled to a special responsibility allowance to reflect the additional role.

Councillors are allowed to claim for travel expenses incurred whilst on council business. For more information on Essex County Councillor Roles and Allowances, please visit the ECC website allowances page.

Why should I become a councillor?
We’ve put together the following notes so that you can think about putting your name forward for selection under the residents’ banner:

  • Uttlesford desperately needs representation in Essex with residents’ interests first and foremost rather than national party policies that might not fit our community;
  • There is a rising tide of residents’ opinion and also dissent amongst the ranks of the controlling party which gives residents a stronger voice;
  • An allowance of £12,000 per annum is payable;
  • You can be available for daytime and evening meetings and a good deal of work is undertaken via email;
  • Candidates will have the very strong support and electoral campaign management from a multi-talented team which professionally overthrew the 16-year ECC incumbent in 2013, and secured 9 UDC, 7 Saffron Walden Town Council, 3 Great Dunmow Town Council, and numerous Parish Council seats across the district in 2015.
  • We start finding candidates a year before the May 2017 elections so we can start the process well ahead of the election date, however the work-load in 2016 will not be very high.
  • From early 2017 through to the elections in May we will be campaigning at full capacity and your flexibility and availability will be needed.

Take the next step

Please consider putting your name forward. If you love where you live please join us; we need people with a passionate feeling for the future of our community!

For more information please email us at election@residents4u.org.