Uckfield signal box and its softwood stairs which are in a poor state of repair.

Wealden refuses plan to replace Uckfield signal box steps with galvanised metal

Wealden Council has refused permission for wooden steps at Uckfield signal box to be replaced with a galvanised staircase.

Former deputy mayor Cllr Duncan Bennett had attacked the proposal as “sacrilege” saying it was an historic structure by a renowned railway engineer but other members of the town’s planning committee out-voted him.

Now town councillors are being told that “unfortunately” the proposal was refused by Wealden District Council’s planning department.

There is no record of the decision on the Wealden website but an update to members of the town council’s general purposes committee which meets tonight (Monday, November 5) says revised drawings are now being submitted for a hardwood staircase option.

It was members of the general purposes committee who had recommended the use of galvanised metal over wood. Cllr Mick Dean said at the time that it could be made to look “very nice” and former mayor Cllr Louise Eastwood said the metal structure would not be out of keeping. (See: Uckfield signal box steps to be replaced with galvanised metal/galvanised material.)

The Saxby and Farmer signal box, now used as a taxi office, is believed to date from about 1900. The current steps are in a poor state of repair.

Resident Gary Cooper of Mill Drive, Uckfield, registered his opposition, to replacing them with galvanised metal, with Wealden Council saying the proposal was “completely out of character with the signal box, which is an integral part of the town’s history”.

When the general purposes committee considered replacing the existing softwood steps they were told it would cost £5,207 plus VAT to replace with metal/galvanised material, and more than £9,000 plus VAT to replace with longer-lasting hardwood.

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