Local residents have been hit with the consequences of more poor decision making and mismanagement of planning matters by R4U as they lose another planning appeal.
Their lack of action on a local plan for Uttlesford is causing continued piecemeal development without the infrastructure to support it.
Without a local plan there is no evidence of the long term housing strategy for the district making it harder to defend against speculative development, as can be seen in the most recent appeal decision for 1,200 houses between Dunmow and Little Easton.
The dither and delay by the R4U run administration to deliver a local plan is because they have no long term vision to address the needs of our communities. They just continue to kick the can down the road, rejecting applications that are then approved by the Planning Inspectorate so they can blame Government or anyone but themselves for new housing.
But running a council is about making difficult decisions not telling people what they want to hear and we are missing out on a proper housing strategy for the district because they are not willing to take decisive action.
They have already had their planning powers for major applications stripped because they have not been making decisions in line with planning law and decisions are subsequently being overturned at appeal and costing local residents.
As the local MP I have no official remit in the planning process, local authorities are responsible for planning. But what I can do is legislate to ensure planning policy is working for communities like ours. It is why I welcome the Government’s Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill which will give local plans more weight and the plan making process sped up - hopefully preventing the delays we have seen here in Uttlesford.
It will introduce a requirement for local design codes and introduce a new infrastructure levy to ensure local authorities focus on getting the schools, GPs and road improvements we need. It will strengthen neighbourhood planning giving them greater weight in planning decisions.
The Government has also announced a long term plan for housing with a focus on inner-city densification and brownfield sites. We re-affirmed that housing targets are an advisory starting point, a guide that is not mandatory and local authorities should work with communities to decide how many houses are needed - this is something I pushed for centrally.
Now it is up-to our local council to do their bit and I urge R4U to work to progress a local plan to ensure here in Uttlesford we have the right housing, in the right places with communities on board and the infrastructure to support it.