Not stupid

PUBLISHED: 12:20 11 December 2008 | UPDATED: 21:38 31 May 2010

CONSERVATIVE councillors Jim Ketteridge and Ray Gooding, together with MP Alan Haselhurst, are all in print recently putting faith in a possible future Tory government to rescue them from a self-inflicted credibility crisis over Uttlesford s housing plans

CONSERVATIVE councillors Jim Ketteridge and Ray Gooding, together with MP Alan Haselhurst, are all in print recently putting faith in a possible future Tory government to rescue them from a self-inflicted credibility crisis over Uttlesford's housing plans.

They seem to think that a different government would somehow disband the system of regional housing planning in favour of future housing numbers being decided in isolation by each district council.

That has never been the case; not even under the previous Conservative government. Then there was a regional planning panel. The public hardly knew it existed, but it assessed market needs and derived housing numbers, handing them down to counties and then on to districts.

That is what has been done in recent years through the present regional assembly. Councillors from across the region were advised by specialists; county totals were argued over and district totals were consulted upon. The present government has pressed to resolve years of housing shortage that has led to much personal and financial pain for many local individuals and families.

I am deeply saddened that local Conservatives want to shun their responsibilities to come up with a socially and environmentally sustainable solution to Uttlesford's housing needs. It does their reputation no good whatsoever to play party politics by dragging their feet and by attempting to mislead the public into thinking that if they vote in a future Tory government, the need for extra housing will somehow evaporate.

The public are not stupid. They are already seeing through the irresponsible game-players at London Road, Saffron Walden, and they may resent being misled in the name of untrustworthy and cynical party political mischief.

Alan Dean, Lib Dem Member for Stansted South, Uttlesford District Council

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