R4U marks first year in power: ‘We delivered on election promises’
PUBLISHED: 14:00 29 May 2020
Residents for Uttlesford (R4U) reflected on its first year in office.
The party says it has delivered on many of its major election promises, while “reshaping” the council and taking “difficult” decisions.
R4U Cllr John Lodge, UDC leader, said: “In the biggest landslide in the country last May, residents elected us to fix Uttlesford District Council. However, we believe that a big part of our success was our progressive agenda for our district. R4U has spent our first year at UDC taking big decisions and changing the council into one that works hard for residents.”
“The new council took the significant decision to draw a final line under the previous Conservative administration’s second costly failed Local Plan to be rejected by Government inspectors,” Cllr Lodge said, adding: “We will instead build a new plan that meets the needs of residents. It will use evidence to decide the best places for new homes; prioritise required infrastructure first; have effective local control by residents; and tackle housing affordability.
“In the meantime, we have started our process of re-engineering how planning is done at UDC. The council has already won a series of high profile appeals to stop the worst developments, and now more firmly holds housebuilders to account.”
R4U’s Cllr Petrina Lees, deputy leader at UDC, added: “The expansion of Stansted Airport to the size of Gatwick was waved through by the previous council administration, who ignored important evidence. It would have been disastrous to our local and national environment and was not a fair deal for our district. We were able to reverse the planning approval.”
Cllr Lees also said R4U committed to a wide variety of “sustainable eco-policies” for the district’s next decade.
But Cllr Lodge stressed the council’s need of good finances, in the light of additional costs from the coronavirus crisis, as well as what R4U said it found when taking over from the Conservatives: “We inherited a £3.6m financial hole at UDC and we’ve been making great progress at remedying it but this will take time.
“We still need the government to make good on their promises to reimburse UK councils.”
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