You said:We want good quality and well-maintained social housing for those vulnerable or in housing need.
We will work to enhance the quality of existing council owned housing, continue to implement improved maintenance regimes, and undertake wholesale refurbishment where required.
We will build new council owned social housing, which will be to high environmental standards so as to reduce bills for tenants.
We will ensure that the councils treats their housing tenants fairly and with respect.
We believe it is possible to have a local government that is transparent, forward thinking and works for residents. As demonstrated by our success at running the now multi award winning Saffron Walden Town Council since 2015 and award-winning Uttlesford District Council since 2019, a lot can be achieved when residents work together to get the job done.
At any council, there are are many priorities, competing view-points, and difficult decisions need to be made, but we will always seek to put residents first. Thank you for trusting us with your vote.
We are a residents’ party and our principles mean that we will:
- Listen to residents and make objective decisions that are right for local communities.
- Plan strategically for the long term and focus on sustainable development.
- Deliver excellent services and fiscal responsibility.
- Develop ideas and policies that are progressive and independent of Westminster party politics.
- Make the councils we control more transparent and accountable.
Local government of the residents, by the residents, for the residents.
In summary our policies are (alphabetically):
- Economy & Jobs: We will support local economic growth and jobs, continue to promote our district as a great tourist destination, and work to get the infrastructure our businesses need to prosper.
- Environment & Green Communities: We will protect and enhance our environment, create new green spaces, reduce pollution, increase recycling, create low-carbon homes and encourage local clean energy.
- Health & Social Care: We will promote health and well-being, push for improvements in Social Care, and work to ensure Uttlesford residents of all ages have access to the high quality care they need.
- Libraries, Arts, Museums & Heritage: We will fight to support and protect local libraries, museums, arts and community events, and will promote and expand their use.
- National Crisis Response: We will proactively play our part in responding to any national crisis or emergency to protect local residents and businesses, whilst holding government and other authorities to account where they make decisions for us.
- Planning & the Local Plan: We will deliver a new Local Plan that is evidence-led, puts infrastructure before new homes, is controlled by local communities and not developers, and provides homes that are affordable for local people.
- Police & Emergency Services: We will hold elected Commissioners to account, encourage the funding of police community support officers, and fight against cuts to emergency services.
- Roads and Transport: We will hold Essex County Council to account to improve our roads, deliver cycle-ways, and for public transport to be upgraded to meet the needs of our district.
- Running Your Councils & Finance: We will be open, transparent and accountable to you; we will run services efficiently and effectively; be fair on tax; and be a strong voice for Uttlesford with authorities and on policies that we don’t directly control.
- Schools & Education: We will work with other authorities to ensure our children have a top quality education at a school near where they live, and push for reliable and free transport for those living further away.
- Social Housing: We will build more council owned social housing to high environmental standards, improve the quality of the existing stock, and ensure that tenants are treated fairly and with respect
- Sports, Community & Leisure: We will invest in better facilities and compel developers to provide green, play and sports areas when new homes are approved.
- Stansted Airport: We will work with the airport to balance employment with their environmental responsibilities to deal with emissions, pollution, noise, road and rail congestion, and village fly-parking.
You said:Why does no-one listen to residents? Provide better value and services for our council taxes.
We are a residents’ party and we will listen to you and act for you. We will always be open, transparent, democratic and accountable to you and make rational decisions based on evidence – not on party politics. We will work for the community together with other parties and independents to truly represent the interests of Uttlesford residents.
To give residents a stronger local voice and improve council services, we will change council constitutions, policies, procedures, and working practices. We will review and change or replace existing structures such as cabinets, committees, working groups, panels, and boards. We will work positively with, respect, and support council officers in their work. Where possible, we will devolve decision-making to towns and villages.
We will ensure that services are effective and meet residents’ needs. We will make the councils which we control more efficient, stop money being wasted. and provide better value for your council taxes.
We will seek new income sources for councils so as to reduce their dependence on council taxes and ever-dwindling central government funding. We will ensure that any investments that a council has to make are based on sound, independent and expert investment advice, and with the correct risk measures and controls in place.
We will be strong advocates for Uttlesford on policies we can’t directly control such as education, highways and health care, and support vulnerable residents and the agencies working with them.
You said:Crime needs to be back under control and we want police back on our streets.
We want Uttlesford to be a low-crime district and stop the spread of organised crime. We will hold the the elected Essex Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner to account to make sure they improve the performance of our police and the fix funding gaps. Where local policing has been withdrawn by central government funding cuts, we will encourage the funding of police community support officers (PCSOs) and special constables to maintain safety.
We will work to protect our fire service and ensure that we have the fire-fighters and responsive service that we need to protect our homes and businesses.
We will work with the healthcare provisioning authorities to make sure that, in emergencies, ambulances and local paramedics are available within an acceptable time and able to take patients to the closest geographical Accident and Emergency Units.
You said:Our arts, museums, and libraries are important and we don’t want them reduced or closed.
We believe that museums, art galleries, performance venues, local artists, events in the community, and built-heritage are important parts of our local culture. We support their continued protection, funding and relevance, and we will seek to maximise the tourist value of our all of the district’s cultural assets.
We believe that our libraries and museums exist to educate, inform and serve our communities, and have the ability to boost literacy and life-long prospects for all. Our libraries provide welcoming spaces for reading and borrowing books, socialising, clubs, exhibitions, professional assistance, internet access and help in job-hunting. We do not support the closing of our local libraries or cutting of services, and will work to ensure that Essex County Council puts in place the proper funding to support them.
You said:We need quality business parks, infrastructure and start-up hubs, and we want to keep our individual shops and cultural centres.
Uttlesford is a great place to live and work and we will encourage economic growth and high-quality, well-paid local jobs by promoting innovation and entrepreneurship; maximising the employment opportunities at and near the airport; supporting existing businesses; encouraging others to come to Uttlesford and working to improve major infrastructure and digital technology such as broadband speeds.
We will develop business partnerships that allow Uttlesford companies to benefit from the economic growth of surrounding areas and develop better links with major employment centres such as Cambridge and Harlow.
We will continue to promote our district as a great tourist destination, particularly through the support and development of our parks, art and historical assets.
You said:In times of crisis we need a council that keeps the vulnerable safe, protects our residents and businesses, and helps us recover.
In times of national emergency or crisis we know that everyone must pull together. Where we lead a council, we expect level-headed leadership that uses the available evidence to decide the best course of action in our district, towns and villages. We expect proactive measures to safeguard those most at risk, and to ensure residents and our local businesses are protected. We also expect residents to follow the rules – response to national crises is about community responsibility.
Where we do not hold the authority to decide for our area, we expect the leaders who do to use the best available evidence when making their decisions. In these situations we will continue to work in our local interests, holding them to account to do just that.
Where there is a crisis or emergency response directed by the government, we will work quickly and efficiently to implement their measures. Where there is a funding package to implement these programmes, we will seek the best funding available for residents and their businesses.
In more critical circumstances, we expect those that make decisions for us to have a clear plan and transparent criteria for moving out of crisis, and a post-emergency recovery programme to help residents and businesses get back on their feet.
You said:We feel under constant threat from developers. Sort out the costly inherited Local Plan mess; listen to us, act for us, and make sure our communities are better as a result of building.
We will work to deliver a new Local Plan to protect our communities from predatory development. We will fight the government’s nationally imposed housing targets. We will make sure that the scale of development in Uttlesford closely relates to the identified housing need, and also that the Local Plan satisfies the Planning Inspectorate and government requirements.
Through the Local Plan, new housing will be built in the locations that the evidence shows is the most sustainable. We will obtain the right mix of social, affordable and market housing. New homes will be built to high environmental and energy efficiency standards with designs in keeping with the local area, and ensure.
We will seeks to maximise developer contributions toward infrastructure and benefits for the community. We will hold to account both developers and the agencies responsible for the delivery of that key infrastructure, working to ensure that this is in place as new housing is built.
We will encourage parishes and towns to develop their own Neighbourhood Plans so as to give those communities a stronger voice and more control over their future. We will consult with residents about all planning applications in an open and transparent manner. We will actively involve town and parish councils in arriving at decisions based on evidence, not on political influence.
We have four key principles that we will apply to the consideration and development of any significant Local Plan sites that may be required in Uttlesford:
- Evidence-led: Proper evidence should be produced, used and published to determine the number of new houses Uttlesford needs to provide and the best locations, including that for housing need, sustainability, air quality, water, green spaces, roads, schools and other infrastructure.
- Infrastructure First: The building of new homes in any significant Local Plan site must happen after or with the delivery of key primary supporting infrastructure, such as roads and schools, and alongside secondary items such as retail facilities, employment land, medical centres, sports/green spaces, high-speed broadband and utilities.
- Local Control: If the Local Plan requires any new settlements, they will be steered by local Development Corporations, or another similar mechanisms, that will hold developers in check, ensure infrastructure delivery, protect existing communities, and get the best deal for local people. We believe that they should be majority owned by UDC, and include board members from adjacent town and parish councils.
- Housing Affordability: A portion of the affordable housing provided, by any new settlement that may be required, must be prioritised for local people, and include schemes for local key service-workers.
You said:We want the airport to be a better neighbour.
We will work with Stansted Airport’s owners to balance employment with their environmental responsibilities to deal with emissions, pollution, noise, road and rail congestion, and village fly-parking. We will work with them to maximise local employment opportunities and to grow and keep new businesses in Uttlesford by exploiting the airport’s position as a logistics and communications hub near to London.
We believe that it is important that the airport owners recognise the principle that Stansted is an ‘Airport in the Countryside’ and accept the negative impacts caused by its operation and make progress towards their mitigation. We will continue to support Uttlesford District Council’s long held opposition to a second runway. We will hold the government to account to deliver on their aviation-related climate change pledges.
We will continue to listen to and work with local residents and parishes to identify issues and work with the airport owners and other authorities to implement measures that will bring about:
- Reduced Environmental Impact: Reductions in emissions and fossil fuel use, air pollution and noise nuisance, including limits on night flights.
- Sustainable Transport: Improvements in public transport, including the rail network, around the airport. Better and more regular bus routes and timetables to reflect local needs and access to jobs.
- Infrastructure Investment: Improvements in the surrounding local roads and the national road network.
- Action on Parking: Effective measures to prevent fly-parking in nearby communities.
- Access to jobs: Improvements in local employment levels in and around the airport.
You said:Our schools are full. We need school places that are local to us and we want choice.
All children should have the opportunity of an excellent and properly funded education, including access to the right support if they have special educational needs. Parental choice should be maintained, and students should be able to go to top quality schools near their homes and not be bussed across the county or further.
We will work with Essex County Council and the independent academies and continue lobbying the Department for Education to meet these objectives:
- To maintain the existing funding for our schools and nurseries.
- To resolve the chronic shortages of early years, primary and secondary places.
- To ensure that viable plans are developed to fulfil the further demand created by new housing developments.
- To provide reliable and free school transport for children in rural areas.
You said:Sort out our road and parking problems, and make public transport better.
Our roads are not fit for purpose and they should be repaired quickly when needed and maintained to a high standard. We will insist that the responsible authorities, Essex County Council and National Highways, maintain our roads to a high standard and deal with existing traffic problems, rather than continuing to ignore them.
Our trains and buses are also unreliable, too infrequent, and don’t serve our rural areas properly, leaving many residents without access to any public transport. We will work with transport companies to improve the reliability, accessibility and frequency of local rail and bus services.
We will look for innovative ways of moderating access by heavy goods vehicles to towns and villages especially during peak hours, and push for 20mph zones in residential areas and near schools and public places.
We will encourage low-carbon and low-pollution transport initiatives such as safe cycling, safe walking routes and school ‘walking buses’. This will reduce car usage and improve car parking management.
We will facilitate the uptake of electric vehicles by providing a dependable charging infrastructure. New developments will be required to supply charging bays, public car parks will be fitted with charging bays and we will explore the possibilities of providing on-street charging for residents who have no driveways or garages.
You said:We need to take action on climate change and protect our rural environment.
We recognise that climate change is a real and growing threat to this planet and accept our responsibility to show determination and leadership in addressing the challenge and preparing Uttlesford for a sustainable future.
We will strive to deliver Green Communities with new open spaces, more trees and improved connectivity for walking and cycling.
We aim to ensure that everyone can breathe clean air, and live in unpolluted towns and villages with clean public transport, more vehicle charging points and clean low-carbon local energy. We will give local town and parish councils the means to maintain the cleanliness and appearance of our towns and villages.
We will monitor and seek to reduce pollution; improve and increase recycling; reduce single-use plastic; monitor flood protection, and improve and increase wild green spaces. We will support allotments and local food production and will encourage more farmers’ markets.
We will seek to continually raise the energy standards of our homes and workplaces and insist that developers install energy conserving technologies in their designs.
Through our Stansted Airport Policy we are committed to ensuring that the airport take responsibility and action for their environmental impact, including emissions, noise, and recycling rates.
Where we control council budgets, we will aim to replace petrol and diesel-driven equipment with electric or alternative fuels at the end of their working lives.
You said:We need more local health services and better access to the ones we have already.
Many of our doctors’ surgeries and dentists are oversubscribed. We should all be able to see our GPs and dentists when we need to and not have to wait weeks for an appointment.
We will promote the provision of specialist facilities to encourage GPs, dentists and medical auxiliaries to set up new practices, or to improve the current ones. We will work with the NHS, commissioning groups, local parishes and community groups to develop a strategy for a healthy Uttlesford – promoting healthier and more active lifestyles and ensuring quick and easy access to healthcare when needed.
When our children or family members require Social Care, they should have good quality services that provide the care we need. We will oppose cuts by Essex County Council to Social Care and make sure those adults and children needing support or care receive the service they need.
You said:We need youth clubs and better sports and leisure facilities.
We will work with existing providers of sports and leisure facilities to invest in better facilities and make them financially and physically accessible.
We will encourage healthier living and wellbeing activities such as walking, cycling, exercise and horticulture, and work to improve the infrastructure that supports these and other activities.
We will compel developers to provide significant green, play and sports areas for the community when new homes are approved. This will benefit everyone in our community including families, young people, the elderly and those with special needs.