Developers wanting to build 1,000 new homes at Ridgewood Farm, Uckfield, have offered to contribute towards improvements which they say would increase the capacity of the Bell Lane/High Street junction in the town centre.
They say the footway on the northern side of Bell Lane could be reduced in width to enable two narrow lanes on Bell Lane.
This, in turn, would allow a left-turn filter green arrow on Bell Lane to run when the right-turn indicative green operates on High Street (North) and so increase the capacity of the junction. A two metre wide footway would be maintained throughout.
This is one of a number of proposals included in transport documents, forming part of a planning application for the 1,000 homes from Welbeck Land, to mitigate increased traffic flow around the town.
Others include improvements at the A22/B2102 Copwood and A22/A26 Little Horsted roundabouts.
At the Copwood the length of two-lane approaches on the A22 north and southbound and on Bell Lane would be increased.
At Little Horsted two-lane approaches on the A22 north and southbound approaches and the A26 would be increased.
The transport report looks at the impact of the development on town junctions and singles out the High Street/Bell Lane junction as being “sensitive, especially blocking back into the Bell Lane/Tesco roundabout.
“An improvement scheme has been put forward which would mitigate the impact of development generated traffic and provide measurable improvement to the operation of the junction, especially reducing the potential for blocking back into the Bell Lane/Tesco roundabout.
“The applicant would like to discuss with ESCC delivering or contributing towards the improvement as it is considered the scheme would cost-effectively limit the significant impacts of the development in this location and is deliverable within the highway.”
The report also gives details of an analysis which demonstrated that the section of High Street in the vicinity of the existing signalised junction with Bell Lane “will perform significantly better as a result of a new southern road link from the Bell Lane/Tesco superstore roundabout and the closure to traffic between River Way and Mill Lane”.
The analysis was carried out at the request of East Sussex County Council which has previously said a southern link road could be considered as a second stage of improvements to relieve congestion in town. See an Uckfield News story which followed consultations in 2012: Uckfield proposals to cut town centre traffic congestion.
The link road would run from the Bell Lane/Tesco roundabout with a bridge over, firstly, the River Uck and then, if necessary, a reinstated railway line, tying in with a modified High Street/Framfield Road/Bridge Farm Road junction.
The High Street between River Way and Mill Lane would be closed to traffic and would form a pedestrian/cyclist only link. A plan from 2012 can be seen here.
Read more about the Ridgewood Farm planning application here: Uckfield 1,000 homes plan now with Wealden Council.
• This story has been edited because intially we wrote that the developers had offered to contribute towards paying for the southern link road. They have not. They have offered to pay for the alterations, mentioned above, to the improvements in Bell Lane itself.
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