Cllr Alan Dean

Liberal Democrat Councillor for Stansted North on Uttlesford District Council and former Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group Learn more

Read more on this

Read more on this


by Alan Dean on 11 August, 2022

I last wrote about this ongoing issue three weeks ago, just prior to the adjourned Council Meeting on July 21st.

That Thursday’s meeting got off to a disgracefully bad start when the Chair, Cllr Heather Asker, announced that the number of councillors allowed to speaker would be limited to a strict quota to ensure business would be concluded within 2 hours. For instance, only two Liberal Democrats and one Green were to be permitted to speak. This restriction had been made up between Cllr Asker and the Chief Executive. Councillors Light and Fairhurst protested strongly that this curtailment of debate was improper and unprecedented.

So lots of time was wasted arguing about this ruling from the chair. Despite that foolishness, the meeting proceeded and it ended after just over 90 minutes without anyone being refused leave to speak and with the ill-advised speaker quotas exceeded without any problem or further fuss. This is no way for a council to conduct itself in public!!!

As for the external “expert’s” report on the airport appeal debacle: 1. The Residents for Uttlesford majority party approved it without amendment by all of them voting for the report, thereby condemning the Council’s Planning Committee for voting against airport expansion as a political act (presumably attacking the committee for acting improperly – in their opinion), (ii) one Conservative and two Independents joined them; 2. All other Opposition Members voted against or abstained (*). 3. The cabinet portfolio holder for Planning, etc., Cllr John Evans, refused to accept a call for his resignation. This call was based on his allowing the Council’s appeal team to monumentally foul up the planning appeal by NOT supporting the Planning Committee’s planning refusal last year, but instead attempting a bodged APPROVAL via the subsequent appeal by Stansted Airport coupled with a ludicrous planning condition that the appeal Inspectors ridiculed as inadmissible. Put another way, everyone’s time and money was thrown down the drain by a deliberate cock-up!

So, it is clear that those councillors on the Planning Committee who acted honourably are to pick up the blame at UDC, whilst the real guilty people who messed up the appeal and who cost local COUNCIL TAXPAYERS MILLIONS OF POUNDS STERLING (+) have so far escaped SCOT-FREE with their reputations intact.



(*) I abstained in disgust at the whole sham of this process. Were I a member of the Planning Committee, I would probably have resigned from it on the spot on the grounds that the Council has no confidence in its legitimate decision to refuse planning permission.

(+) The amount of compensation that UDC will have to pay to Stansted Airport Limited has still not been agreed. UDC offered £1.4 million, but the airport is yet to respond.


   1 Comment

One Response

  1. Paul Fairhurst says:

    Sadly, Alan, you are not wrong. The Council’s conscious decision NOT to defend its own Planning Committee’s unanimous decision to refuse the application, directly led to an award for costs of at least £1.4 milllion.
    Yet when an external report confirms this they accept it and deny accountability.
    When this external advisor then acknowledges that it has limited evidence upon which to understand the plannning decision it infers a politicalcaly motivated decision. Again the leadership meekly accepts this. Noone takes responsibility noone is accountable.
    In fact even though the report specifies failure of “oversight” noone is to blame.
    The leadership and perversely the entire R4U membership suppoprts this report without amendment.
    One has to wonder how they expect the Council or it’s Planning Committee to continue to function with integrity.
    Or do they even care?

Leave a Reply

You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>