Hempstead Road re-opens as work on side of building completed

Hempstead Road, Uckfield, has re-opened after being closed while the side of a building was redecorated.

Bernard Smith from chartered surveyors Oldfield Smith and Co which oversaw the work said there was more to be done on the front elevation so a small scaffold remained on the High Street, but there should be no more disruption to traffic.

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A bird’s-eye view of Uckfield High Street from the top of a building which has just been redecorated. Click on the picture to enlarge it. Picture: Bernard Smith.

He said: “This has been a difficult scheme requiring careful planning and the co-operation of the highways department at East sussex County Council to ensure that vehicular and pedestrian traffic was kept safe and to minimise the length of time the road was closed.

“The scaffold was designed to bridge over the road to allow vehicles to pass underneath whilst works continued on the upper floors.

“This building had not been decorated for very many years, partly as a result of the complexity of completing the work safely.

“There were issues with the guttering, high level fascias and the pointing, as well as large areas of flaking paint. This has all been repaired and the building decorated from top to bottom, including the road name sign.”

Mr Smith said there were delays in the latter part of the scheme as a result of persistent heavy rain which caused the job to over-run but highways were “particularly helpful” in assisting with traffic management which avoided a need for further road closure at a later date.

He added: “We are very pleased with the final results, with the prominent Hempstead Road elevation now looking clean and tidy, enhancing this important and historic part of the High Street.”

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Newly decorated, a building on the corner of Uckfield High Street and Hempstead Road. Picture: Bernard Smith.

• Builders were surprised to find green and brown paint under many layers of white as they worked on the building and this is thought to have been because it was camoflauged during World War 2.

Somebody who knew the building well from those years, but didn’t want to be named, couldn’t remember the camoflauge but said a hole was knocked through to the outside of one of the bedroom walls so that in the event of invasion guns could fire from it.

He said a gun was never used in the room and a butcher’s shop in the building was able to continue trading throughout the war.

There were rumours of a gun emplacement on the roof of the building but our source said it would have been impossible to get one up there. The roof was higgledy piggledy with nowhere for a gun to go and there was only a small hatch through which would have been difficult to squeeze through.

The hole broken through the bedroom wall would have given a view of Hempstead Road.

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Another view of the High Street from the top of a building on the corner of Hempstead Road. Picture: Bernard Smith.

• If you have memories, or pictures, of Uckfield High Street during the war years we would be pleased to hear from you. Please email cathy@uckfieldnews.com or call 01825 760102.

• Contact details for Oldfield Smith & Co can be found 24/7 in our Uckfield Directory. Look for the business name or search in categories for Chartered Surveyors, Commercial Estate Agents or Commercial Property Management.

See also:

Parking time limits to change in Uckfield next month

Coffee and cake treats raise funds in Uckfield for Macmillan

Community comes together at Bonners Primary School, Maresfield

Find local businesses in our Uckfield Directory

How to advertise on UckfieldNews.com

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