Cllr. George Smith (UDC Conservative Group Leader) released the following as a press release today (Tuesday 8th February) following the news that Uttlesford District Council have been placed under 'Designation' status
This is an extraordinary failure that R4U have brought to the district. They will undoubtedly blame everyone else, including the Government. But it is the decisions that they have taken that has led the Government to conclude that Uttlesford District Council should be placed under Designation Status. To put this into context, since May 2019, the Council has refused 43 major applications against officer advice, 39 of those have gone to appeal costing the District £200,000. It is under R4U that the Planning function at Uttlesford has become dysfunctional.
RFU Councillors have to accept that they cannot ignore planning law for political gain – that is what has led us to where we are today, and why we have the worst performing planning function in the country. As a result of this decision, the Council can no longer decide major planning applications but will have to pay for the privilege of the Planning Inspectorate to make those decisions instead. What impact this will have on the local plan remains to be seen but if the Council cannot decide the future vision of our communities, all residents will suffer. Carefully considered development brings cross generational benefits, and this blanket 'no' approach that R4U have adopted is damaging to all of our communities.
Having presided over a failure to get their accounts signed off, critical governance failures and a criminal investigation into one of their own. This is further evidence that R4U are not able to govern the District effectively. Our communities are suffering at the hands of the incompetence of this administration. Uttlesford deserves better."