Bridge Cottage, Uckfield

Bridge Cottage can be key to reviving Uckfield High Street

Comment by Observer

Bridge Cottage receiving Heritage Lottery money is great news on many levels for Uckfield.

I won’t dwell on the obvious ones about the need to try and keep what is probably the town’s most significant historic building in a good state of repair and put to good use.

They’re a given.

We should congratulate the preservation trust on its tenacity, hard work and foresight in making a successful lottery application. If you haven’t read the news yet, just click here

Springboard

Now, I believe, the preservation society’s work can be used as a springboard towards a more vibrant and thriving town centre.

Uckfield has a great opportunity to reinvent itself as a destination town with an historic focus.

Bridge Cottage would be at the heart and wise planners will try and link other parts of Uckfield’s past so people can come for the day and make the most of what we have on offer.

Make it easy to find our past

At the moment, there is no coherent whole for anyone wishing to explore Uckfield’s past.

The information is there but it needs bringing together in an accessible and entertaining manner.

We have car parks, a rail service from the north, a frequent bus service from Brighton and Tunbridge Wells, an upgraded bus station on the way and acceptable road access from around the county.

Big idea

Wealden District Council has been pointing the way with its Streets Ahead initiative.

Here is a “big idea” for Uckfield that is within our grasp. Look at what Wealden says towns should try and achieve:

  • Create a positive sentiment
  • Develop local ideas, plans and actions
  • Ensure short-term reinvigoration to attract people back in
  • Provide lasting value
  • Reinvent for the long-term working collaboratively on developments

A well-thought strategy could tick all those boxes.

‘Destination town’ based on history of Bridge Cottage

Uckfield has become something of a destination town for charity shoppers and, as a result, demoralises many independent traders.

Bridge Cottage can be the key to Uckfield becoming a destination town based on the past. It could transform fortunes.

Oh, and by the way, don’t believe anyone who tells you Uckfield has no history. It’s all there: it just needs marshalling to tell a great story.

Feedback

Last week’s column caused something of a furore when I suggested pay parking for Uckfield. I’m not sure all the Facebook commenters had read the article in which I said parking should be free for three hours.

I still hold the opinion that beyond that people should pay. That’s what happens in most other towns.

Why should the general council taxpayer subsidise other people’s parking costs? That is what is happening at the moment.

See also:

Make Uckfield safer for pedestrians

Uckfield is so charitable

Cart before horse when we plan for future

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