One thing you cannot help but notice about Uckfield is that it’s a very car-centric town, and how few people cycle around, writes the Uckfield News occasional columnist Newcomer.
Of course there are some obvious reasons for this, mainly that to be able to cycle to any other town you’d need to be both very fit and slightly mad to risk riding on the main A22 and A26 roads, but also that the town layout includes steep hills and restricted road space, in particular the area around the bridge and up the High Street.
Now before you start thinking I’m one of those lycra clad loons that you occasionally see tearing around I can assure you I’m not, in fact I don’t even own a bicycle because they are so dangerous!
However this is something that is seriously worth thinking about for the medium to long term future of the town, as with another 1,000 homes being built soon the traffic situation in town can only get worse. We really should be looking at ways to get people out of their cars.
(On that note what exactly are Taylor Wimpey doing to help improve the traffic situation they will be creating with the Ridgewood Farm development?)
It would be madness not to apply
So what can be done to improve things? There’s no easy or cheap answer to this but the government have recently announced plans to invest £1.2bn in the cycling infrastructure of the country, so it would be madness for Uckfield not to apply for this.
Improving the layout of the various housing estates to make cycling safer for us all should surely be seen as important priority. To encourage this maybe a sponsored fun cycling event for all the family to cycle around all of Uckfield’s estates?
An idea I’ve mentioned before is potentially converting the old train track from Uckfield to Isfield into an off-road cycle track.
There is quite a large network of these types of cycle routes around the country, and it would help make Uckfield a little bit more accessible and interesting for those who may want to get out on their bikes, or in my case buy one!
In the longer term it may then be possible to create a cycle lane along the A22 between Isfield and Lewes, further improving the cycling network.
On a more serious note it may even give some teenagers in the town a release mechanism to relieve their boredom, as well as making Uckfield feel a little less closed off from the rest of the world for those who cannot drive.