Political stalemate over Local Plan

We were sent another press release by the Uttlesford Lib Dems this week about their on-going boycott of the of the Uttlesford Local Plan process due to secret meetings:

Press Release: Heads of Lib Dems and Conservatives Meet

On Thursday, 13th of September, 2012, Lib Dem Group Leader Cllr David Morson and Deputy Leader Cllr Elizabeth Parr met with Council Leader Cllr Jim Ketteridge, to discuss the recent Lib Dem withdrawal from Local Development Framework (LDF) Working Group and associated activities.  The move follows allegations that secretive meetings of selected councillors were held to ‘fine tune’ the Council’s controversial local plan.

Cllrs Morson and Parr set out a list of conditions agreed by the Lib Dem group, for how the process could be made open and accountable to the public.  These were:

  • LDF meetings should be open to councillors, the public and press, and that secretive meetings, such as the one held in January and the one proposed for the 30th August, must stop.
  • The Working Group must be more transparent.  Previously, minutes have been vague, no recommendations had been made to Cabinet until May of this year, and no forum for debate for either councillors or the general public had been made available surrounding the last consultation on the local plan. 
  • Uttlesford should instead emulate the process used by neighbouring East Herts District Council, where public, press and all councillors are able to attend meetings, and where, in the last meeting alone, five recommendations were made to the Cabinet.

These suggestions were ignored.

As a result a motion [discuss the nature of the LDF working group and how it operates] is being created to be taken to Full Council in October, and we are sure that the public will have a reactionary response to add to that.


WeAreResidents.org opinion:
This story is just the tip of the iceberg. It might be that the Lib Dems are making the most noise about it, but we’re also hearing from a good number of hard-working Conservative district councillors who’ve had enough of the secret meetings and steamrollering of the Local Plan by the UDC Cabinet, against all evidence and common sense. And it would seem that if the UDC Cabinet and Council Leader won’t even listen to his council colleagues then his commitment to welcome and listen to residents’ concerns seems a hollow promise too.

It should be interesting to see what transpires now that the whole discussion will happen in public at the Full Council Meeting on Tuesday 2 October. It may be worth going down to the council chambers to see what transpires….unless of course the UDC Council Leader gets cold feet and decides to do a deal with the Lib Dems to take the discussion out of the public eye again…

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Posted in Consultation, Rotten Boroughs, Uttlesford District Council, Uttlesford Local Plan
One comment on “Political stalemate over Local Plan
  1. Daniel Brett says:

    The statutory deadline for a couple of FoI requests I’ve lodged with UDC was due today, although I’ve heard nothing from them. They are essentially about an explanation of notoriously vague committee minutes, rather than any massive amount of data that would be time-consuming and costly. No doubt the requests will be rejected as usual, in which case I’ll appeal to the Information Commissioner. Why is UDC like this? Why is it so inept, short-sighted and clandestine on almost every issue.

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