Uckfield Town Council is to take a lead in promoting shopping in the town during this year’s roadworks.
It has set up a working group to bring together the Chamber of Commerce, other town groups and representatives from surrounding villages who wish to help, writes Paul Watson.
The decision comes as a date is expected to be announced shortly (maybe today) on when the roadworks will begin in earnest.
So far, lamp-posts have been replaced in the High Street.
£5,000 budget from town council
The council has set aside £5,000 in its budget to promote shopping in Uckfield during the roadworks and had hoped “match-funding” would have come from East Sussex and Wealden councils.
They have declined to put up money but will support “in kind” through the provision of a roadworks liaison officer and the district council’s Streets Ahead programme.
Up to £2,500 can be spent from the regneration committee’s communications budget.
The town council has accepted the offer from the other councils and will press ahead with co-ordinating the organisation of events to bring people into town.
Cllr Ian Smith, Independent, Ridgewood, said: “I think we should continue to put our money where our mouth is.”
Cllr Duncan Bennett, Trust Independent, New Town, said there were so many things that could be done.
He remembered the late Barry Knights, who died of a heart attack in 2009, who was co-ordinator for the then Uckfield Regneration Partnership.
Barry, he said, had wanted a busking competition in the town – an example of an event which would attract people into Uckfield and be in the main street.
Cllr Paul Meakin, Liberal Democrat, Central Ward, said there was a need to draw people into the town and sustain the retailers.
Cllr Chris Macve, Trust Independent, North Ward, said the Chamber of Commerce had funds which it was ready to allocate to help attract people into town.
Roadworks start date is imminent
A start date for the major roadworks in Uckfield High Street could be finalised today (January 26).
New lighting columns have been put in at various places in the last few days but the main works and traffic management arrangements are awaited.
A meeting between contractors Colas and members of the Highway Improvement Board, an adjunct of the Uckfield Town Regeneration Joint Committee is scheduled for today.
Cllrs Ian Smith and Keith Everett, both Independent councillors for Ridgewood, reported to last night’s town council meeting:
“This meeting will be used to hopefully finalise the start date for the major works, and to seek agreement on a traffic management solution to be deployed whilst the works are in progress.”