New political party formed as residents seek to take control of Uttlesford District Council

Residents for Uttlesford

Residents for Uttlesford - Credit: Archant

Unhappy residents have formed their own political party after becoming fed up with national parties “telling them what’s good for them”.

The goal: To take control of Uttlesford District Council and alter the direction of the authority to better represent the wishes of residents.

Residents-for-Uttlesford (R4U) has revealed its first seven prospective district council election candidates who, the party hopes, will garner support from across the political spectrum.

R4U chairman and existing Essex county councillor for Saffron Walden, John Lodge, will be joined by Joanna Parry, who is an ­independent district council ­representative for Newport, former Liberal Democrat district and Saffron Walden town councillor, Dr Richard Freeman, and former Labour MP candidate Dr Barbara Light.

Cllr Lodge said: “Residents don’t want national parties telling them what’s good for them locally – they want to decide for themselves.

“We’ll unveil our detailed policies nearer the election but have no doubt about it, our plans are big, bold and are all about towns and villages getting their voices back and ­deciding for themselves.”

Cllr Keith Mackman, who announced last week he was ­defecting from the Tories to R4U, is another candidate, along with ­playground campaigner and mum-of-three Sharon Morris and chairman of Dan Starr.

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“It is critical that residents from all backgrounds have a voice,” Cllr Mackman said.

“That means we want both fresh faces and seasoned political ­experience from every party to help drive a broad set of policies focused on things that matter to people ... the local economy, quality of life, fiscal responsibility and proper long-range planning.

“We’ve got working mums, ­existing politicians, successful ­business leaders and everything in between.

“Today, we’ve announced just our first group of prospective candidates to showcase the political diversity and backgrounds of those that want to give residents a true voice.”

Mr Starr said: “In the last year, the district council has seen its approval rating slump from over 90 per cent to 56 per cent as residents have become increasingly fed up at being let down by the current council on a whole range of issues.

“Since we announced in July that it was our intent to take control of UDC in 2015, we’ve seen a steady stream of people sticking their hands up to become candidates.

“But we’ve still got space for more. If you love where you live and want to make a difference for the residents of Uttlesford, drop us a line through our website – we want to hear from you.”

To find out more about Residents-for-Uttlesford, visit