Delay to the Local Plan is a serious issue.
In 2018 Residents for Uttlesford tweeted; “In 2014 when the Local Plan was rejected, the Inspector raised concerns about the non-transparent way that the council had selected and promoted certain sites over others. If it’s not transparent, people suspect political bias.” Those words may yet come back to haunt them. R4U have delayed the Local Plan for 6 months, in order to investigate a site that they have handpicked. We now face the prospect of unsuccessful land promoters challenging the Local Plan on process. What’s worse is that in the words of the Council’s CEO, this new site may not come to anything. If that happens the delay will have been a complete waste of time.
In responding to any criticism, R4U claim that opposition members want them to rush the Local Plan. This is not about taking shortcuts or rushing the plan. What we expect is a party who claim to be serious about delivering a local plan, sticking to the schedule. Everything was working fine until the Council got to the stage of revealing which sites R4U had allocated in the new plan. Since then, all we have seen has been dither and delay. The real reason for the delay is that R4U can’t agree on the recommended site allocation. That is why this new site is needed by the administration, to move allocations away from the sites that are politically unacceptable to R4U. Their political instability is what is delaying the plan and in the process putting the District at risk of further speculative mass development.
Unlike the Administration, every member of the Conservative Group lives in the District with strong ties to their ward. We all have an interest in seeing the Council deliver on a Local Plan, it is what our communities urgently need. Until then we have no prospect of tackling the drastic shortage of affordable housing, and little hope of stopping the developer free for all that is happening under R4U. We desperately need real and effective leadership from the administration, it was promised but on so many issues is failing. If R4U cannot deliver then just as they said in 2019, it is time for change.