Story updated on Wednesday, April 5
Historic bricks piled by the side of Library Way, Uckfield, next to the Picture House cinema have finally found a new home.
They were removed from the lower High Street last summer during the roadworks with the hope they could be preserved.
Their future took some months to determine but Monday night’s full meeting of Uckfield Town Council heard the problems had been resolved.
Councillors were told bricks “were provided to the Rotary Club, New Town Action Group and two members of the public for re-use within the town”.
The report from council officers went on: “The remaining bricks were provided to the Millennium Green Trust.
“Now the bricks have been cleared, the area will be brought up to standard.”
• Town clerk contacted Uckfield News at lunchtime on Wednesday to say work wasn’t quite complete but hopefully in the next couple of weeks all would be removed to their new homes.
Read more below as the story has developed.
Story updated on Tuesday, February 21: One last effort will be made to use historic bricks removed from Uckfield High Street during the roadworks before they are possibly turned into rubble.
Cllr Chris Macve, Trust Independent, Uckfield North, said he would ask the town’s Rotary Club if it wished a wooden planter at the railway station to be replaced with one made from the “double-height” bricks that were near Carvills.
‘Throw them in the bin’
He told last night’s council meeting: “You will probably remember when this first cropped up I said ‘throw them in the bin’ because I thought it was a total waste of time, effort and money.
“But, we have got them and I think we should probably so something with them.”
Cllr Macve said he was willing to speak to Rotary. “I am quite happy to do it, if the council will buy the materials and use what can be used there. It would look quite nice in that location,” he said.
Cllr Helen Firth, Conservative, Central Ward, wondered whether the New Town Action Group would like the bricks to make a path at Selby Meadow.
The Millennium Green and WI have also expressed an interest.
Those groups will be given first “pick” but town clerk, Holly Goring, emphasised that the bricks needed to be removed from the side of Library Way.
“This is the difficulty. They have been there for some time now. They will need to be collected and stored somewhere while work is under way.
“We cannot leave them in their current location much longer,” she said.
If the community use option fails, members of the public would be invited at a specific date and time to remove any bricks they wanted in a supervised operation. Any left would be removed and destroyed.
Our story on Monday, February 20: Options for the future of historic bricks removed as double-height kerbs from Uckfield High Street include turning them to rubble for use on the Millennium Green at Ridgewood.
Another possibility would be to clean up one or two of them up for display, offer some to members of the public, and put the rest into a skip for disposal.
Uckfield town clerk Holly Goring says in a report which is going to a full council meeting tonight that the council has received interest from a couple of local residents in the past few weeks who “wished to obtain a number of the bricks for projects on their property (ie within their gardens etc)”.
The town council asked for the bricks to be saved during works to improve Uckfield High Street and they have since been stacked in Library Way next to the Uckfield Picture House where they were described by one town councillor recently as “an eyesore”.
The town clerk says Bluebell Railway successfully re-used granite kerbs from the High Street but were unable to use the bricks as they “needed substantial cleaning and attention, to bring them up to the required standard”.
Councillors had suggested they might be used for planters to be maintained by Brighter Uckfield in place of timber ones; be used as a surround on the base of the red telephone kiosk, bought by the council for a still-to-be-decided use in the town; or for re-coping raised sloping beds outside Hartfields.
Ms Goring says in her report to the council: “Unfortunately the bricks would need cleaning and close attention before they could be used within any local projects and it is still unknown if the bricks would survive substantial cleaning.”
She adds the relocation of the red telephone box is still unconfirmed and there is no suitable safe and secure location for the storage of the bricks in town council premises at the present time.
The Millennium Green Trust has however, advised they would be happy to take the bricks to use as rubble for one of their future projects, and “this would enable the bricks to be returned to their alleged origins at the Uckfield brickworks”.
She says it is estimated there are in the region of 1,000 to 1,400 imperial size bricks on five pallets outside Uckfield Picture House.
There are a mixture of bricks covered with lime mortar and cement mortar and the council has been told it would be “very difficult” to remove the cement mortar and the process could result in a number of the bricks being broken.
Local salvage and reclamation yards have advised the bricks aren’t suitable for them.
The town clerk says in her report that a skip company has said that to remove the “hardcore” would cost £165, plus VAT.
- the town council retain at least one or two bricks for heritage purposes and display these within the glass cabinets of the council chamber;
- promote and advertise a set time in which local community groups and individuals can safely collect the bricks for their own re-use – with oversight from the town council’s grounds staff;
- if there are any bricks remaining, that they be disposed of safely using the accurate skip size and collection.
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