Summary of Policies

Housing and planning

  • Garden communities: 40% affordability will be maintained with the development of innovative, sustainable communities based on garden city principles and a stress on well-connected communities.
  • Affordable housing: Affordability will be indexed to local wages with UDC as the main social housing provider, assisted by a council-owned housing development company. By 2030, there should be 2,500 new council houses.
  • Private rent: A responsible landlord register, a landlords’ co-operative and a private tenants association will help boost the quality of the private rented sector, reduce private rent inflation and empower tenants in the private sector.
  • Planning: The planning process will be opened to greater transparency with publication of viability assessments.
  • Self-build: Self-build will be actively encouraged, including assistance to local army veterans, with the formation of self-build organisations.

Economic Development

  • Stansted Airport: Development of an enterprise zone around Stansted Airport to maximise job opportunities for people living in the new garden communities, using business rate relief and local development orders to stimulate investment.

Communities and Partnerships

  • Sports: Funding for sports should prioritise developing facilities at existing community sports clubs rather than concentrating resources in large budget prestige projects.
  • Youth: Local youth counselling services, youth clubs and youth centres should be better supported to tackle mental illness among young people, provide them with positive activities, encourage self-confidence and enable vulnerable young people to access services they need.
  • Libraries: Essex County Council’s proposed closures of Stansted and Thaxted libraries will be opposed as a withdrawal of a statutory service. Should the closures go ahead, the libraries will be run by Uttlesford District Council and adequately staffed and stocked. Libraries will also host other information points and support the arts.
  • Allotments and community gardens: The number of allotments in Uttlesford will be doubled to meet demand and groups seeking to establish community gardens will be supported.

Environment

  • Woodlands: Investment in new community woodlands to support local biodiversity and provide carbon neutral biofuel, either used in wood burners or in electricity generation, that could provide commercial value to sustainable woodland management.
  • Green transport: Support the installation of more charging points at major centres of employment and public facilities, reward the uptake of electric vehicles and explore other incentives including more renewable micro-generation of energy for vehicle charging.

Women’s rights

  • Equalities portfolio: A deputy cabinet position will oversee Uttlesford’s equalities portfolio, which would examine how the council’s policies impact on gender equality, as well as LGBT+ and ethnic and religious minorities in the district.
  • Procurement policies: The equalities standards that the council applies in its own workforce should also apply to contractors working for the council.
  • Childcare: Partner with a local credit union to introduce an affordable childcare loan for local parents so that they can return to work without ending up out of pocket.
  • End period poverty: All public toilets in the district will have dispensers for free sanitary products funded by the council, so that women and girls who are in hardship do not have to live in physical and emotional discomfort.

Finances

  • Protecting finances: Commit to 2.99% annual precept rises over the course of the four-year council session in order to offset the effects of central government cuts and inflation. The impact of a higher precept will be offset by increased discretionary payments for council tax support, so that no local families facing hardship will be adversely affected.
  • Diversification: Diversify revenue streams with an end to further investment in the Chesterford Research Park and a greater spread of investment across asset classes and protect council finances from negative risk. We would separate strategic long-term investment in the local economy from investments in bonds, stocks and other instruments with the latter entrusted to professional asset managers to deliver strong returns.
  • Sovereign wealth fund: Seek to establish a £1 billion sovereign wealth fund with other councils, pooling assets to create a larger investor that can deliver better returns, mitigate risk and invest strategically in the local economy.

Summary of Policies | Housing and Planning | Economic Development | Sports | Young People | Museum | Libraries | Allotments and Community Gardens | Environment | Women’s Rights | Finance