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.

 

First Name (required)

Last Name (required)

Your Email (required)

Your house number or name (required)

Your Postcode (required)

Subject

Enter your comment or question (up to 1,000 characters)

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.

First Name (required)

Last Name (required)

Your Email (required)

Your house number or name (required)

Your Postcode (required)

Subject

Enter your comment or question (up to 1,000 characters)

Cllr Richard Freeman

Twice Mayor of Saffron Walden, and a Town and District Councillor, Dr Richard Freeman is well respected locally and has lots of experience. In the private sector his professional background is running complex projects for manufacturing and high-tech businesses. He has lived in Saffron Walden for more than 20 years.

“Saffron Walden is a good place to live; but it needs skilful management if it is not to become just a pretty dormitory town for the well-heeled and the wealthy.” Richard Freeman

Richard joined R4U from the Liberal Democrats in 2014 to become a founding councillor.

WardRolesAbout/BioContact
Chair of the Council (UDC), Chair: Planning and Road Traffic (SWTC), Councillor at Saffron Walden Town Council, Councillor at Uttlesford District Council, Deputy Mayor (SWTC), Member: Assets and Services (SWTC), Member: Finance and Establishment (SWTC), Member: Planning Committee (UDC)

Richard Freeman has lived in Saffron Walden for over 20 years.  For most of that time, he has represented residents as a Castle Ward councillor.  He has twice served as Town Mayor. In 2014 he joined R4U from the Liberal Democrats, becoming a founder councillor  to better serve local residents.

Much of his professional life has been spent in the manufacturing industries, particularly pharmaceuticals and also foodstuffs.  Latterly, he has worked for large international consultancies, providing technical and project management expertise to multinationals and governments.

Much of Richard’s time as a councillor has been devoted to making developers deliver on their Section 106 obligations.  These are legal requirements, often in the form of infrastructure payments made to the council that are designed to mitigate the impact of new housing.  Frequently, developers under-deliver on these.  As a direct result of Richard’s efforts, the town will soon receive two excellent new playing fields off Little Walden Road completed to Sport England standard,  Likewise, after much hard work, the new development of Tudor Park now has a RoSPA-approved children’s playground

Richard says that he believes that “local government has a duty to ensure the supply of homes for ordinary people – not just mansions for the fortunate rich! The limited supply of so-called ‘affordable’ homes linked to housing developments is not enough.  We need new social housing as well; homes that people can rent at prices they can afford. “

He has a particular interest in architecture, and has modernized several listed buildings. This interest was amply expressed when he was involved in managing the repair and refurbishment of Saffron Walden’s listed Town Hall.  Left in a sorry state by previous Conservative administrations, he helped plan and monitor its repair and restoration.  Richard was also able to assist with the design and installation of a very efficient and modern heating system for the building, making this iconic building usable all year, and much cheaper to heat.

First Name (required)

Last Name (required)

Your Email (required)

Your house number or name (required)

Your Postcode (required)

Subject

Enter your comment or question (up to 1,000 characters)

Cllr Neil Hargreaves

Chartered Accountant Neil Hargreaves has lived with his family in Newport for 26 years, where he is a very active member of the community. Neil’s accountancy background makes him an invaluable member of the R4U team, particularly when it comes to Council finances and its major investments.

“I am working to implement better policies to enhance and develop our district, to make the best of the mistakes already made, and support our local communities.” Neil Hargreaves

WardRolesAbout/BioContact
Councillor at Uttlesford District Council, Portfolio Holder: Finance and Budget (UDC), Vice Chair: Governance, Audit and Performance Committee (UDC)

Originally from Lancashire, Neil Hargreaves has lived in Newport for 26 years and his three children went to both Newport schools. He has used his accountancy skills to serve the community in various roles including Treasurer of the Friends of St Mary’s Church and Treasurer of the Newport Scouts. He is a regular contributor to the award winning Newport News village magazine, and is an administrator of the popular Newport Newsline Facebook group. He is chair of the steering group for the Newport, Quendon & Rickling Neighbourhood Plan and is active on planning and local community concerns.

After qualifying as a Chartered Accountant, Neil moved with his wife to Kenya, where their son was born. After returning to London he worked for a large accountancy firm and then in the insurance industry. He managed a large accounts department, IT projects, and outsourcing contracts, and was Treasurer of a reinsurance broker. After moving to Chelmsford and then Newport, Neil commuted to London and to Norwich. During this time his wife worked as an Occupational Therapist and in a dispensary in Saffron Walden and Addenbrookes. Now retired, Neil’s final accountancy position was with a US balloon manufacturer in Bishops Stortford.

Neil is a keen photographer, is a member of CPRE, and is out every day walking his Beagle around the villages in the ward.

Where we live is rightly shown in surveys as being one of the best places in the country. He believes that development, both commercial and housing, can enhance the district if well planned and coordinated with good infrastructure and the services needed to support a larger population.

But he considers that the lack of a Local Plan, which should have been in place in 2011, has caused serious damage to our towns, villages and rural areas.

Residents’ strenuous efforts to reform these decisions had some success, but the Westminster party politically driven system remains unchanged as do the small core of councillors who run it. Neil therefore stood for election as a district councillor for the Newport ward in 2015, and was elected as one of the 2 ward councillors. He immediately set to work to sort out issues raised on the doorstep and has been able to implement a new speed sign, a major road sign project to stop the frequent bridge strikes in Newport. An extension to a 30 limit, to protect a new housing estate, has also been agreed.

Neil and fellow councillor Anthony Gerard hold weekly councillors’ surgeries in Dorringtons in Newport, are active on the local Facebook groups, and attend the parish council meetings in the three villages in the Ward

First Name (required)

Last Name (required)

Your Email (required)

Your house number or name (required)

Your Postcode (required)

Subject

Enter your comment or question (up to 1,000 characters)

Cllr Petrina Lees

A proven champion of her community and local causes, Petrina Lees previously served on the Elsenham Parish Council for 17 years, including 3 as chair; enjoyed a 30 year career in nursing; and has been part of the leadership team of Save Our Villages for 9 years. Petrina stood for district council as an Independent in 2015 and was elected as an R4U councillor for the Uttlesford District Elsenham and Henham ward in 2017.

“I’m passionate about fairness and regularly jump in to volunteer to create a better community. I don’t seek an easy life – I’m not afraid to challenge the norm, roll up my sleeves and get things done. People who know me know I work tirelessly for local residents and their causes and will have seen that since I was elected I have done so.” Petrina Lees

 

WardRolesAbout/BioContact
Councillor at Uttlesford District Council, Deputy Leader of the Council (UDC), Member: Governance, Audit and Performance Committee (UDC), Portfolio Holder: Health and Wellbeing (UDC), Portfolio Holder: Housing (UDC)

Petrina Lees is a very active member of her community. She has lived in Elsenham for over 20 years with her husband, and their family. She cooks for the Lunch Club, runs the Elsenham Rainbow Guides and manages the village rounders team.

She is also well qualified as a councillor. She served on Elsenham parish council for 17 years including 3 years as chair. Petrina has been part of the leadership team of Save Our Villages for 9 years, helping secure last year’s planning rejection of ‘Hellsenham’ by the Secretary of State. She is also a member of the Joint Parishes Council Steering Group.

Outside of the home she enjoyed a career in nursing of more than 30 years, most recently caring for the terminally ill, but left the NHS a couple of years ago to concentrate on her family and community activities.

Petrina stood as an Independent in 2015 and was elected as an R4U councillor for the Uttlesford District Elsenham and Henham ward in 2017.

Petrina said “The first thing we addressed after being elected was the appalling state of the road outside the local shops in Elsenham.  For over 15 years there have been numerous complaints. As Parish Councillors we were always told by District Councillors that they were ‘unable to help or fix it because it was the responsibility of the county council’. That’s as may be, but it is shirking and rubbish, and that attitude holds no truck with me. People don’t care what council you are elected to. As a district councillors part of your job is to advocate for local people and hold those responsible to account, even at other authorities. Within 6 months of being elected we facilitated and contributed to the road being resurfaced. My motto is ‘never give up’ – there is always a way, you just have to think outside the box sometimes.”

First Name (required)

Last Name (required)

Your Email (required)

Your house number or name (required)

Your Postcode (required)

Subject

Enter your comment or question (up to 1,000 characters)