Our independent columnist Observer turns an eye on the 1,000 homes development planned for Ridgewood Farm, Uckfield, and calls for a new way to deal with infrastructure questions.
Housebuilder Taylor Wimpey appears on the cusp of seeking full planning permission to build 25 per cent of the homes on the Ridgewood Farm site.
The company held a public exhibition in Uckfield prior to its planning application but local people did not get the answers to many of the questions they asked.
Most, if not all, have accepted that 1,000 homes are coming to the site.
Few, if any, are satisfied with what we are being told about the construction of new infrastructure for our town to absorb all these new residents.
Yes, Wealden District Council can tick the box over providing a park to draw the newcomers, and others away from the Ashdown Forest.
It would be foolish to say that protecting the Forest is unimportant but I would suggest that other matters should be equally as high on any tally of priorities.
Here’s my little list:
- What about school places, especially at the community college?
- What about doctors’ surgeries?
- What about traffic, in town and on the by-pass?
- What about the provision of shops?
There’s four concerns for you; no doubt readers can add more.
My suggestion is that Wealden District Council needs to move fast and establish an Infrastructure Delivery Plan, overseen by an Infrastructure Delivery Plan Board.
Let’s get it out in the open.
Exactly what are the plans to deal with school places, doctors’ surgeries the roads and rest of it.
A Board, comprised of town, district and county councillors should be established to oversee this plan.
In addition, the Chamber of Commerce should have a place along with two or three townspeople.
Yes, I expect and know the local councillors will “bat for Uckfield” but some people with no connection to the councils would not go amiss.
A proper plan, properly scrutinised is what Uckfield needs if we are ever to get the infrastructure to cope with 1,000 new homes and all the extra people and cars.
If Wealden are intransigent on this, our town councillors should create stink.
Southern trains in more chaos
Train operator Southern has had a very bad week, again.
The big bugbear has been what the rail industry calls “short-forms”. That means fewer carriages on a service than needed.
You must wonder why we went through months of agony in 2016 to lengthen platforms to accommodate ten carriage trains when the best Southern has done on some occasions is run just two carriages into Uckfield.
The truth is, of course, out.
As I suggested some time ago, the diesel units bought from Scotland have not settled in well.
Quite what the problem is, I don’t know, but the phrase buying a “pig in a poke” springs to mind.
If all that was not bad enough, Southern completely lost the plot yesterday (Friday, March 24).
Cancellation followed cancellation because of no train crew.
Taking services from London Bridge to Uckfield, the following trains were cancelled
It means that after the 12.08 left London Bridge, the next train was the 16.38.
As the evening peak developed, the 17.08 was 20 minutes late leaving (the driver wasn’t even on the station at the departure time), the 18.06 ran but the 19.08 was cancelled.
A record of ineptitude would be harder to find.
I have asked before: How does Southern keep the franchise?
Those of who meet in the Dog and Duck for a cool glass of Sauvignon Blanc have two other questions:
- Has there ever been a worse Secretary of State for Transport, than Chris Grayling?
- How does Chris Grayling keep his job?
It’s time for Southern to go and for their last train to take Mr Grayling with it.
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