Key planning decisions will show if Uckfield is out of the 7km rule deep freeze, says Observer

Independent columnist Observer says decisions on two planning applications will establish if it is business as usual once again in Uckfield and surrounds; praises East Sussex County Council and takes the “elephants” home.

Wealden District Council will be determining two planning applications in the near future which will show if the dropping of 7km Ashdown Forest rule took development in Uckfield out of the deep freezer.

One application is for returning April Cottage at Buxted to domestic use and the other is for the construction of homes for the elderly on the former Meads surgery site in Grange Road.

Uckfield Town Council plans committee quite rightly supported the Meads plan.

If these schemes get the green light, you can well expect more small-scale developments coming through.

I’m not talking about big housing developments but the conversion of un-used offices above shops to flats and small-scale in-fill.

Inflexible 7km rule

This has been part of life in Uckfield and any other town for that matter and it should return as soon as possible.

The 7km rule was so inflexible that those who made the planning decisions were not able to make commonsense judgements.

April Cottage was a house – then a surgery; so where’s the problem in going back to a house?

The surgery site is perfect for older people’s housing, being only a few steps from the High Street.

At the same time the 1,000 homes scheme at Ridgewood Farm is permitted because a “country park” is to be built on the other side of the by-pass.

Driving over the Ashdown Forest

The 7km rule has seen businesses and jobs go in Uckfield when many tradespeople now drive daily across the Forest to work in the Gatwick/Crawley area.

Let’s get back to normal.

CONGRATULATIONS TO East Sussex County Council for promoting apprenticeships. An apprenticeship establishes the work ethic, lets young people ‘earn and learn’ and will help ensure the country has the skills for the future. What’s not to like?

WHITE ELEPHANT: Must go now. I need to remove the white elephants which I had safely corralled on the Network Rail car park. October 5 is the day the long-awaited car park opens. How many months late is the project?

See also:

Time limits on Uckfield car parks to change

Coffee and cake for Macmillan

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