Quakers ask district council to reverse decision as investment row continues

King Street and Market Square, Saffron Walden

Saffron Walden - Credit: Celia Bartlett Photography

Saffron Walden’s Quaker community have said they are very concerned over Uttlesford District Council's decision to invest in a new building in Gloucestershire.

Members of the Saffron Walden Local Quaker Meeting held a special meeting which resulted in them calling for the council to reverse its investment decision and for the council to work urgently towards an ethical investment policy.

And they have offered to discuss ethical investment with councillors or officers of Uttlesford District Council.

R4U have rebutted the claim that they are "investing in the arms trade" and said that "false rumours are being spread by political agitators".

The council's future tenant was named as Moog Inc in a meeting of the full council by a resident, and has been referred to in council documents as "investment opportunity 12".

Moog Inc is a worldwide designer, manufacturer, and integrator of precision control components and systems. Moog systems control military and commercial aircraft, satellites, and space vehicles, launch vehicles, missiles, automated industrial machinery, and marine and medical equipment.

The company’s space products played a critical role in the successful landing of NASA’s Perseverance Rover on Mars.

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Saffron Walden Local Quaker Meeting raised their objection to the investment on the grounds of their faith, which calls them to root out whatever in their lives contains the seeds of war. 

Saffron Walden Quakers have been based in the town's High Street since the 1660s.

Their letter reminds Councillor John Lodge, Uttlesford District Council's leader, that Saffron Walden is known for its Quaker heritage and many of the town’s public buildings, including the council offices, were given to the town by its Quaker community.

Part of the Quaker letter, sent on Monday (March 1) states: “It distresses us immensely that the council tax we each pay should be invested in this company."

R4U councillors at the meeting on Thursday (February 25) said their investment decision was ethical and said their investment was in land which came with leases. 

An e-petition on the council's website called "Objection to council investment in property used by the defence industry" has 376 signatures. It closes on May 2.