Statement by Leader of the Uttlesford Liberal Democrat and Green Alliance Group
It is extremely disappointing that a lack of leadership by the Residents for Uttlesford (R4U) party at Uttlesford DC has resulted in their revised timetable for the production of the Local Plan showing at least another one year delay in the publication of the Plan. This will mean there will be a further period when there will be an open season for developers to put in speculative planning applications in unsustainable locations within the district.
Over the last 12 months there has also been a disturbing lack of openness and accountability to local residents about the Local Plan. Many meetings were held in private with the majority of councillors excluded. We expect the R4U administration to inform local residents about the location of the "new" major housing site, now under consideration, for 2000 homes and a link road in Saffron Walden and the rough distribution of the 14k houses throughout the district before the local elections are held next May. Both these proposals break promises R4U made to local voters before and during the 2019 elections.
Under the current R4U administration the Planning Department at Uttlesford has lost at least 5 senior members of staff involved in the development of the Local Plan. This is deeply alarming. People familiar with the district are being driven away by R4U's poor leadership.
We understand that the Planning Department at Uttlesford is currently advertising for 10 members of staff. Uttlesford has also been put into "special measures" for the quality of decision making on major planning applications in the district.
In short R4U is failing to keep their election promise in 2019 to fix the "poorly performing" Planning and Development processes by "re-engineering" the Department. All they have done is make a bad situation under the Conservatives even worse.