Saffron Walden Town Hall rental rates could be reversed in new administration

Councillor Heather Asker is congratulated after winning in Saffron Walden.

Councillor Heather Asker is congratulated after winning in Saffron Walden. - Credit: Archant

The increase in rates for renting Saffron Walden Town Hall, which incensed community groups when it came in last month, could be reversed by Residents for Uttlesford, the new leading group on Saffron Walden Town Council, which has swept into power.

As recorded by the Saffron Walden Reporter on April 16, in some cases the rent rise is more than 200 per cent.

John Lodge, the Residents for Uttlesford leader and also leader of the group on Uttlesford District Council, said it was a “matter of great concern” and would be under discussion. He said: “We will be looking at it very closely” and added that it was very likely that prices would go back down again. “We are here to listen to what the people of the town want.”

Cllr Lodge, who is also an Essex County Councillor, elected as an independent two years ago, said his group was not surprised at the success of Residents for Uttlesford in Thursday’s elections for Saffron Walden Town Council. The party is only six months old, though it is an amalgamation of several existing residents’ groups.

He said: “We knew we had a massive level of support. We are at a very early stage of our work in other parts of the district. But it is a wonderful start. We shall build on this result and it will have great resonance in other parts of the country.”

Cllr Lodge said the Residents hoped to work constructively with the Conservatives on the district and town councils. “We hope the Conservatives will work with us, particularly as the residents of Saffron Walden and Newport may feel disenfranchised by what happened if their representatives are not given roles.”

The Mayor Making ceremony will be on Saturday, (May 16) in Saffron Town Hall, the new Mayor of Saffron Walden will be Councillor Heather Asker (Residents) and the deputy will be Cllr David Sadler (Conservative). Cllr Asker is on holiday and will be installed in her absence.