ELECTION SPECIAL: Uttlesford District Council campaign under spotlight

Polling station

Polling station - Credit: Archant

Just three weeks remain till voters flock to the polling stations to have their say.

Voters will go to the polls on Thursday, May 7.

Voters will go to the polls on Thursday, May 7. - Credit: Archant

This week focuses on Uttlesford, which will see 22 wards up for grabs on May 7.

There will be some hard-fought battles. The current Conservative administration is putting up candidates for all 39 seats, while political newcomers Residents For Uttlesford will challenge the status quo with their 30 contenders.

Meanwhile the current Liberal Democrat opposition attempts to increase its seven council seats, as Labour goes for their first seat in over a decade.

Residents for Uttlesford and Labour are not the only party trying to break up the blue-yellow mould. Three Green Party candidates, seven Independents and six UKIP contenders complete the electoral fight.

Wards to watch include Felsted & Stebbing, Ashdon, and Saffron Walden Audley ward. Littlebury, Chesterford & Wenden Lofts proves a battleground of veteran politicians.

Want to find out more? Head to Walden-In-Transition’s Question Time on Friday, April 24 at Friends Meeting House. at 7.30pm.

Howard Rolfe

Howard Rolfe - Credit: Archant

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Howard Rolfe, leader of Uttlesford District Council (UDC), Conservative Party

Good financial management has been the foundation of the Conservative administration’s success and this has enabled investment and a reduction in Council tax. We have significantly improved waste collection and recycling, we are building Council homes again for the first time in 20 years and will invest £35m over the next five years.

We are also investing in economic development, sport, cycle paths and the environment.

The Local Plan will be completed in a transparent, objective and consultative process.

It is likely that the next phase will require a new settlement – existing towns and villages have already delivered their share of new housing and we will ensure they have adequate provision of infrastructure, schools and health facilities.

A future Conservative administration will look after the needs of ALL its residents not just the few. 133 years of Councillors’ experience are standing down in three weeks, it is important there is a balance of experience for the future. We have come too far to throw it all away.

Karmel Stannard is the Green Party parliamentary candidate and Stansted district candidate.

Karmel Stannard is the Green Party parliamentary candidate and Stansted district candidate. - Credit: Archant

Karmel Stannard, parliamentary candidate and district candidate for Stansted, Green Party

I believe that our local community and the beautiful green belt surrounding it should be protected by the District council.

However, instead of affordable housing, developers have been allowed to build huge developments with a majority of expensive houses that local people cannot afford.

This has also resulted in overburdened schools and health services which the developers are not expected to increase sufficiently, despite their profits.

District councils have a responsibility to provide affordable housing for local people. We should protect our local health service from privatisation and work to provide free care for our elderly population.

Council members should also fight for funding by central government and from the developers (especially revenue from Section 106), to increase school places and the health services that have been oversubscribed.

Alan Stannard, UKIP

Alan Stannard, UKIP - Credit: Archant

Alan Stannard, district candidate for Felsted & Stebbing, UKIP

There are two issues concerning the residents of Uttlesford, house building and hospital parking charges. With 300,000 people entering the UK each year needing homes, it is no wonder we need an enormous house-building program.

Towns and villages like Great Dunmow and Thaxted have in place massive housing developments on Greenfield sites that should be growing food.

Saffron Walden has so far escaped the large development, but be aware of the next few years.

With potentially a Conservative government after May 7 and a predominantly Conservative council we need a good opposition to contain these plans. Car park charging is scandalous.

UKIP only has a few candidates standing in Uttlesford, but voting for us we can form a group to work on your behalf. When we say we are the party of the people, we mean it.

John Lodge, Residents for Uttlesford (R4U)

John Lodge, Residents for Uttlesford (R4U) - Credit: Archant

John Lodge Residents 4 Uttlesford

Our ten-page manifesto, built with 600 locals, is designed to create long-term plans and fix Council operations. In summary:

Our council: We will be transparent and accountable to you; responsibly run efficient services, and be a strong voice for Uttlesford, even with authorities that we can’t directly control, such as for schools and roads.

Our economy: We will support new economic growth and employment inside Uttlesford, work to keep businesses here, and promote ourselves as a great tourist destination. Our homes: Our planning will be driven by local needs and with direct input from residents; homes will be built to high environmental standards, and we will incorporate the infrastructure essential for our communities.

Our environment: We will protect and enhance our built and natural environment, create new green spaces, reduce pollution and improve sustainability.

Our life: We will encourage healthy lifestyles and work to improve sport, leisure, and healthcare facilities.

Alan Dean, leader of the Liberal Democrat opposition on Uttlesford District Council.

Alan Dean, leader of the Liberal Democrat opposition on Uttlesford District Council. - Credit: Archant

Alan Dean, Liberal Democrats

Uttlesford is ready for fresh leadership and May 7 2015 looks like it will bring a fresh start. We have a team of 13 female and 12 male candidates ready and eager to play a full role in the new council.

The district cannot afford any more delinquent behaviour like that of the present Conservative administration, which spent eight years and wasted £2 million on a failed Local Plan.

A new plan must be founded on good planning evidence. UDC must be open, honest and transparent with the public.

The Lib Dems will do all they can to rebuild trust.

We are committed to our SIX TO FIX priorities, which include creating quiet lanes in our countryside, delivering homes for people of all ages and incomes, ensuring developers fund necessary infrastructure and using taxpayers’ money wisely to maintain Uttlesford as a good place to live.

Bill McCarthy

Bill McCarthy - Credit: Archant

Bill McCarthy, Labour Party

We believe that local residents deserve new policies and new councillors willing and able to deliver these policies by serving on Uttlesford District Council.

That’s why I and our fellow Labour candidates across the district are standing for election on 7 May.

We will work for joined-up policies to secure the schools, transport, housing, and medical and social care provision our communities need.

We support: more council and affordable housing, quality care for our older residents, facilities for young people, and putting the streetlights back on for our safety.

We believe in a thriving local economy, and sustainable policies which care for our environment.

We live in a lovely part of the world but we cannot ignore that for some of us things are bleak – the scandal of food banks in Uttlesford is the most shocking reminder of this but the increase in the waiting list for council homes and the number of working people receiving in work benefits in our area are also indicative of the problems many face – but only Labour has the will and the plan to build a better future for us all.