New homes must be built to maintain public services, the leader of Uttlesford District Council has warned.

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In his New Year message, Cllr Jim Ketteridge said changes to the way the authority receives funding from Government meant house building would “continue to play an important part in ongoing prosperity of the district” in years to come.

He added: “It is clearly good news that Uttlesford’s economy continues to be relatively healthy. As a result of this, the district’s population continues to grow, as does demand for new and affordable housing.

“The way local services are funded is undergoing radical change, and the money councils receive from the Government is linked to the number of new homes being built.

“New homes therefore ensure stability in the provision of key public services, benefiting all residents, while also helping to ensure that our family members and successive generations can continue to live locally.”

Cllr Ketteridge said Council Tax would be reviewed for the next financial year. Plugging cash into the community for everyone’s benefit, thanks to a 4.9 per cent rise in spending power, will also be looked at.

“2014 looks set to be an exciting year for council and the district as a whole,” Cllr Ketteridge added.

“The district council is in a sound financial position. Recently we announced that although our core funding from central government has been cut, our overall spending power has increased. This is as a result of good financial management, cost efficiencies and additional Government funding linked to the growth of housing.”

Looking ahead to the coming year, Cllr Ketteridge said the visit of the Tour de France would be “a day to remember”.

“Come the summer, the district will play host to the Tour de France. This promises to be a day to remember and if the public response to the Torch Relay in 2012 is anything to go by we can expect thousands of people to turn out and cheer the cyclists on their way,” he said.

“Finally, the annual Halifax Quality of Life survey recently named Uttlesford the second best place to live in the UK. People living in the Uttlesford District are among the happiest and healthiest in the country – and long may that continue.

“As leader of Uttlesford District Council I want to take this opportunity to wish all residents in the district a very happy and prosperous New Year.”

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