Talks are under way about the possibility of making more use again of the youth centre in Downsview Crescent, Uckfield, but a big stumbling block is the cost of repairs to the building.
It could cost £250,000 to remove and replace the roof – partly because it has asbestos in it which requires expert attention.
This was revealed last night at the Uckfield Annual Town Meeting held at the Civic Centre in a discussion about providing more for young people to do and disappointment that youth clubs had closed.
Huge sum of money
Uckfield Mayor Cllr Louise Eastwood said that was a huge sum of money for the college to find and so ways were being considered to help raise funds in the town which would enable the centre to re-open.
She said one avenue was to apply to supermarkets through their shopping token schemes.
Chamber of Commerce president Chris Lawson asked to be kept updated on proposals because this could be a project the business organisation could get involved in.
Other topics raised at the meeting were “appalling” policing of the town, anti-social behaviour of teenagers, litter, and traffic danger to pedestrians in the area of the Cinque Ports Club.
David Fennings asked whether there was any chance of an improvement in policing in the town.
“It is appalling. I have lived here 35 years and we used to have a man come round, knock on the door and introduce himself as a policeman asking whether there were any problems.
“I haven’t seen a policeman in ten years or more. It is appalling, a town of this size needs a presence.”
He said there wouldn’t have been a need to increase the police presence recently because of anti-social behaviour if the town had been policed properly in the first place. (There’s more about anti-social behaviour in this story: Police say action against anti-social youths in Uckfield is working)
Police Inspector Jon Gross said millions of pounds had been cut from the Sussex Police budget and ultimately that boiled down to less boots on the beat and they had been forced to put in place slightly different ways of policing.
He said there still was a 24/7 response team in Uckfield – the only town in Wealden with that capacity – but the sort of service Mr Fennings was used to, the knocking on the door, couldn’t be done as much as it used to.
Deputy mayor Cllr Duncan Bennett said the upside of recent events in Uckfield was that the town council, Sussex Police, Chamber of Commerce, businesses, and youth workers were all coming together to look at initiatives which could help.