UDC 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 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.