UDC to hold second closed-door meeting to decide Kier’s 300 new homes on east of Saffron Walden

Keep OutUDC have announced that they will hold a second meeting to decide if they should fight Kier’s appeal to build 300 homes on the east of Saffron Walden. The meeting will take place on 19th August, but the press and public are barred from the main discussion about Kier’s development.

Saffron Walden County Councillor John Lodge said, “The law has just changed to try to force councils to be more transparent and less secretive by allowing filming of all public meetings. So it is disappointing that the new UDC leader has decided to hold the meeting in private and behind closed doors to seal the fate of Saffron Walden and his ward. It is not what the electorate expect from their politicians.”

BBC News: Law has changed to force councils to allow filming of public meetings – but UDC have decided that the Kier discussion shouldn’t be during a public meeting….

At a similar meeting on 5th August, UDC’s leadership presented advice to persuade councillors to abandon fighting the Kier appeal, but unconvinced by the argument, instead councillors asked for a second opinion. The meeting on the 19th is to review the new advice and again to decide if the council should fight the appeal on behalf of residents.

Uttlesford based WeAreResidents.org has written to UDC to ask that this new advice be independent.

Dan Starr, chair of the group said “We’ve urged the political leaders at UDC to ensure that this time the legal opinion is thorough, considers all of the facts, and is truly independent both in its creation and delivery. Councillors clearly didn’t trust the first advice they were given by officers last time and so asked for a second opinion. It is important that the council also considers evidence produced by the Saffron Walden Town Council, DEFRA and resident.”

The local papers covered the story, including the Herts & Essex Observer,  Walden Local (page 20), Saffron Walden Weekly News (page 3) and Saffron Walden Reporter (page 5).

The first part of the meeting at the UDC offices on London Rd in Saffron Walden is open to the public and starts at 19:30.

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Posted in Election 2015, Local Government, News, Planning Application News, Rotten Boroughs, Uttlesford District Council, Uttlesford Local Plan
2 comments on “UDC to hold second closed-door meeting to decide Kier’s 300 new homes on east of Saffron Walden
  1. Janet Harris says:

    If they fight this one and the Dunmow one , but not The Fairfield one, I will suspect them of deliberately pushing the houses on Henham, Elsenham and Stansted. And Elsenham is already up for as many if not more than Walden, with another 130 in the pipeline. It doesn’t matter where these houses are planned for. Neither Walden, Newport, nor this part of the district are suitable for the number of houses that developers, the government (and the EU )have decided are needed! Tho I’ve just read the Government will now give incentives for building on brownfield sites. Of which there are many in cities and towns. Hurrah! Bit late !

    • Janet – The UDC leadership are trying very hard to get the council not to fight the Kier appeal too. In fact they sound desperate pushing very feeble excuses as their is no reason not to fight all of them. You can listen to the audio of the meeting here: http://media.audiominutes.com/udc/udc-2014-08-05-20:00:21.mp3.

      What will be interesting is that if the Full Council decides not to fight the Kier appeal, as it will throw the Elsenham appeal decision back open again because the Full Council were not allowed to vote on that one. In fact it is believed that Officers overstepped their authority in writing the letter to the Planning Inspector saying that they weren’t going to contest it…. And of course the whole thing is despicable in that the UDC leadership are trying to overturn the democratic decisions of the Planning Committee just because they didn’t like the outcome.

      Next May can’t come quick enough when residents can decide for themselves who they trust to run their council.

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