Councillor, Uttlesford District Council / Leader of the Uttlesford Independents group / Member of the Planning Committee / Member of the Local Plan Leadership Group / Member of the Investment Board / Member of the Climate Change & Ecology working group / Reserve Member of Scrutiny Committee / Reserve Member of Standards Committee
There are times in life when you have to say, enough is enough! I arrived at that conclusion after 18 months of observing the behaviour of the District Council: the Local Plan, housing, airport expansion, money wasted through incompetence. I felt that if the council remained unchanged it would not cope with the challenges that lie ahead. At that time it was dominated by the Conservative Party.
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.
Standing for the district council was farthest from my mind – until that “enough” moment arrived.
I have been a resident of Uttlesford for more than 40 years, first in 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 election 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. The failure of the Local Plan when it reached the Planning Inspectorate put paid to that scheme (for the time being).
Our villages and towns cannot be frozen in time. They have to evolve and cater for growth and that includes the need for new housing and for local employment. However growth should be proportionate, well managed, for the benefit of all and respect its location.