Proposals put forward by East Sussex County Council under its “Improve Uckfield” banner are badly under-cooked.
It has attached far too little importance and has little detailed information available under the heading “Smarter Choices – making different travel options”, writes Paul Watson.
Seeing this listed as Option A, I hoped the county council would not be looking so strongly at road building.
However, when looking for the detail on easier walking, cycle routes and improving facilities for bus passengers, none was available.
There is none on the website and council officials at the exhibition could offer none.
Option A amounts to a series of declarations and fine words.
The cost of the option is suggested at £3m. When you add up the possible costs of the other options, they could come to more than £30m.
That’s a terrible imbalance and Uckfield people should send the county council back to Lewes with one simple message: Develop a real Option A with details so we can make a proper choice.
At the moment, they have loaded the dice in favour of roads – one of which would dissect the trackbed of the former Uckfield to Lewes line, adding to any re-opening costs.
With Option A being so thin, here are a few ideas for the county officials:
- Make a proper rail/bus interchange
- Go for a park and ride to try and stop the horrendous free-for-all parking by train commuters. This would also help Buxted residents
- Get a bus service that properly penetrates the housing estates with timetables co-ordinating with train arrivals/departures
- Work with parents to reduce the school-run traffic. Stop worrying about the three-mile limit for free school transport and have dedicated buses that will safely take children to and from school
- Build cycle paths running into the town centre from the town’s big housing estates. They should be proper cycle paths – not ones running along the side of busy roads
- Have cycle lanes along the High Street on either side – and protected from the rest of the traffic
- Make shopping safer and more pleasurable by coming up with proposals for pedestrianising all or part of the centre section of the High Street. If that is not feasible or desirable, find ways to stop through traffic.
- And, if you must have new roads – do all that you can to discourage cross-town traffic and have suitable car parks for shoppers to the north and south of the town. Town centre workers who live in Uckfield should be encouraged to walk, cycle or use the bus while those from outside should use the park and ride.
My message to the council is simple: On your own figures you have schemes which could cost £30m or more: What does Option A look like if you spend £30m?
Would you like to share your view of the options? Please email email@example.com.