Other issues included lack of disabled parking in Uckfield High Street, the poor condition of wall and gates at Uckfield cemetery, and a request was made for efforts to be made to find somewhere bike jumps can be built for youngsters.
There was concern that discounts were being offered to people hiring rooms in council properties while long-term hirers were missing out and there were complaints about potholes, across town, including in Mill Lane.
The disappearance of Ridgewood signs was highlighted. Villagers want them returned.
The state of Ridgewood Recreation Ground and Luxford Field were said to be “disgusting” and questions were asked about when the grass would be cut.
A plea was made for another look at the “dangerous” Church Street junction with High Street.
About 40 people, including councillors, town clerks and members of the press, attended the meeting which was held in the council chamber at Uckfield Civic Centre.
Answers to the questions included:
There were concerns about drains being blocked with grit in Uckfield and at Ridgewood and the potential for flash flooding if something wasn’t done. The town council made a note to pass this on to the county council for action.
Luxford Field play equipment
Luxford Field play equipment was described as being in a “dire state” and perhaps now that town centre redevelopment plans had been shelved something could be done to “enhance the village green at the centre of a lovely town”.
Town clerk Holly Goring said the town centre regeneration joint committee was due to review its decision to put redevelopment on hold in the summer of 2018 and that meant the town council would have to wait until that time before it could consider what to do with the play area.
She said the council recognised the equipment and standard of the play area weren’t up to scratch and members would be looking in the next year at what interim repairs could be carried out.
There was concern about the state of pavements in Uckfield High Street and about a potential threat to health because of the pigeon droppings building up.
Cllr Diane Ward, chair of the town council’s general purposes committee said that Wealden Council had assessed the pigeon mess problem before Christmas and at that time considered there was no health and safety hazard.
The town council had been in touch with specialists in pest control and explored what options were available and reported to businesses in the old Post Office building who were going to pass them on to their landlords.
The council was concerned that some residents were encouraging the pigeons by feeding them. Signs had been purchased to go up in Elizabeth Gardens advising against feeding birds.
Cllr Ward said council staff were being asked to deep clean the area – though street cleaning really was a district council responsibility.
Town clerk Holly Goring said that while Wealden hadn’t been concerned about the mess on the ground they were taking more seriously a photograph showing the number pigeons on the roof and the town council would keep pushing the point.
Parking issues raised included a shortage of disabled spaces and poor marking of them in Uckfield High street; people parking all day in other High Street spaces and confusion about the direction traffic should flow around Luxford car park.
Town clerk Holly Goring said there was flexibility within the traffic order made for the High Street works allowing an 18 month period for it to be reviewed and changes made. She added there were plans to mark the disabled spaces more clearly and she would pass on to the district council concerns about markings at the Luxford car park.
She added the council was well aware of other issues including out-staying time in parking spaces and illegal parking on double yellow lines and these issues were being monitored by Wealden and East Sussex councils as they considered the possibility of civil enforcement.
In the meantime she said there were a number of things that could be done in the interim that would involve a behaviour change and possibly enforcement action from the police.
The clerk said that town council-owned woodland would not be suitable as places where bike jumps could be built to replace some flattened elsewhere in town.
Boothland is designated ancient woodland and Nightingale Wood has numerous tree preservation orders.
She said the council would keep an ear to the ground for any potential sites.
Room hire charges
The question was asked why discounts were offered to prospective new room hirers when the Decorative and Fine Arts Society had been booking for 21 years for their monthly meetings and members often used the Luxford Restaurant for lunch beforehand yet received no discount.
Cllr Ward said a review of fees and charges for the Civic Centre and Foresters Hall was being undertaken and as part of that the general purposes committee had discussed the importance of keeping loyal people as hirers and that would be explored further. “Watch this space,” she said.
Ridgewood village signs disappeared when new signs showing the link with Uckfield twin town of Arques-la-Bataille were put up. Mrs Goring said this was unintentional and she was working to get the Ridgewood signs reinstated.
Shortage of money was blamed on a pothole problem but East Sussex county councillor Chris Dowling said £90 million would be spent over the next seven years on road and highway maintenance.
Grass cutting at Ridgewood and Luxford Field
The town clerk said new contractors had been appointed to cut grass in the town and would be starting this week so problems at Ridgewood Recreation Ground and Luxford Field would be addressed then.
Uckfield Mayor, Cllr Louise Eastwood, said the Church Street junction with Uckfield High Street was being included in a list of places that could be improved in a final stage of improvement works in Uckfield. Concern had been raised at the town meeting about how dangerous this junction was.