Councillor, Uttlesford District Council / Member of the Planning Committee / Vice-chair of the Local Plan Leadership Group / Member of the Investment Board / Vice-chair of the Climate Change & Ecology working group / Reserve Member of Scrutiny Committee / Reserve Member of Standards Committee
Taking party politics out of local government is the only way councils will operate as they should, openly and honestly and with the community’s best interests at heart. Local government, focused on local needs, taking its lead from local people.
I have been a resident of Uttlesford for more than 45 years, first in Hatfield Broad Oak, Birchanger and Elsenham, then Felsted and moving to Great Chesterford in 2003. I started my own business aged 21 and built it into a sector leader. During that time I was a consultant at board level to major European and American corporations.
For two years prior to the 2019 local elections I followed and challenged the council on their plans for a new town in the north of Uttlesford – almost the size of Saffron Walden but with few of the facilities and none of the charm of our market town. That new town (NUGC) was a politically expedient, opportunistic and unsustainable scheme, an isolated car-dependent dormitory that would have swamped neighbouring communities and local roads. The inclusion of this poorly evidenced scheme was a major factor in why the Local Plan failed when it reached the Planning Inspectorate.
Our villages and towns cannot be frozen in time. They have to evolve and cater for population growth and play their part in the need for new housing. However growth should be proportionate. It should not be dumped on communities without respect for the countryside and without new or improved community services and infrastructure.
One of the most damaging effects of the ‘build now, worry about the consequences later’ approach to growth has been the diminishing security of water supply to households and the widespread pollution of our rivers, notably the Cam. I have written extensively on the subject so won’t repeat it here. Back in 2019 when I was first elected it was hardly discussed. Today, barely a day goes by without sewage pollution hitting the headlines.