Meet Newcomer who is joining Observer as a columnist on Uckfield News on Saturdays.
Newcomer is so named having only recently moved to the town. The columnist brings a fresh perspective on what happens here.
Observer, of course, has lived in the town for many years spending just a short while away in the Midlands from 2007 until 2013.
Newcomer contacted Uckfield News recently saying: “I enjoy reading Observer articles about the town and it’s clear whoever it is loves Uckfield and wants to improve the place. However I am concerned that it is only one person’s opinion and they are not the voice of all Uckfield.
“Is there any way you could have a comments section so that others can give their views? The latest topic re parking is a very sensitive issue as parking fines etc could have a big negative effect on the shops, many of which are already struggling.
“The wider issue of traffic is also something that should be open to discussion as its clearly a problem. I’ve got a few ideas on how it could be improved but not really sure what the best platform is to put them forward. Anyway, keep up the good work.”
Uckfield News asked Newcomer to forward their views which they did, and now they have risen to the challenge of writing for us occasionally. So, welcome to Uckfield Newcomer and welcome to the Uckfield News team. We look forward to sharing your views.
Newcomer has an idea for combating climate change and putting money in the pockets of Uckfield residents at the same time. Read on:
Money-spinning idea for Uckfielders
Whether you watch the superb new Blue Planet 2 series, listen to what virtually every scientist says or just look out of your window, the one thing that’s become a stark reality today is that climate change is real.
Worse still, it’s pretty clear to us all now that us humans are to blame for the state the planet is in, but the question we all ask ourselves is what can we do to make a real change? Does recycling your bottles and cans really make any difference? Other than that is there really anything else we can do?
Well the answer is yes, and even better than that if we do it together we can not only make a difference but also make money, quite a bit in fact. What is this mystery, planet-saving, cash cow I hear you say? It’s Solar power.
Shrewd house owners
If you have a look around Uckfield today you can see a few shrewd house owners already have solar panels on their houses, but it is just a few.
Of course the main reason for this is the cost (the average cost of installing electric-producing solar panels is around £4-6,000), but also there are also the unknown factors in the back of your mind “Will I get ripped off?” “Will it upset the neighbours?” “What come back is there if they don’t work?” and no doubt many more.
There isn’t an easy answer to all of this but here’s an idea for how some of these issues could be resolved, and that’s by creating a collective Uckfield organisation to effectively “bulk buy” solar panels for all those who wish to be involved, with the main objective to bring down the overall cost.
Security and impetus
To get this idea off the ground it would need as many Uckfielders as possible to get involved, and also if the council could get involved then that would add some real security and impetus. (I have already put this idea forward to an Uckfield councillor and am awaiting a response).
Sounds too good to be true? Have a look at what residents of the small German town called Wildpoldsried have achieved after starting with the same idea 20 years ago.
It’s still early days but why not say what you think on the Uckfield News Facebook page? Who knows, one day we could make Uckfield the UK leaders in town-produced renewable energy (and make both those involved and the town a lot of money). It’s a win-win!
Uckfield needs a masterplan
It feels like Uckfield needs a long-term masterplan to try and solve the traffic and parking issues, and part of that is it’s very important to protect the High Street shops as much as possible.
Tesco - From what I can work out it appears to me one of the major problems is the size and location of Tesco. A supermarket of this size should really be on the outskirts of the town instead of in the centre.
Not only that but if it was nearer the A22 then it would serve the surrounding area a bit more easily, whilst the current store could be replaced with a smaller Tesco Extra along with some housing/luxury apartments (i.e. this would work as an incentive to Tesco for them to relocate).
Cycle lanes - although there has been some attempt there doesn’t appear to be natural flow to encourage cycling, although admittedly this is partly due to road layout of the town centre and the fact it’s hilly.
Bell Lane Industrial Estate access - there are only two ways in and out of the estate, and one of those links straight to Tesco. A third access road in the middle would potentially help relieve things but admittedly it’s not really a priority.
Railway car park - this appears to be very underused. It may be worth discussing this with Network Rail to discuss the best way of optimising it.
Other than that I don’t actually think the parking issues in the town centre are that bad, as there is already plenty of parking in the town for free.
Where there is an issue is the New Town area around Mill Drove/Alexandra Road/Keld Avenue but this is difficult to resolve without simply trying to encourage people to get out of their cars.
Electric Cars - Where I think things could be improved is to try and encourage electric cars. The obvious first thing to do is to install electric power charging points in the car parks but this is understandably difficult, as it’s expensive and therefore needs to be justified, however electric cars are the future so long-term plans do need to be put in place for them.
Do you have views you would like to share with Uckfield News readers each week? If so, get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
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