Re-introducing housing as part of a regneration plan for Uckfield town centre was suggested this week.
Major plans for a scheme are on hold at the moment but a “wish list” for the project was produced by the regeneration joint committee at an informal meeting.
The list included an alternative large food store, an open plaza and greater use of the Luxford Field. More details of the “wish list” here in our earlier report.
Original plans for town centre redevelopment showed homes but they were dropped from the scheme after the imposition of the 7km Ashdown Forest rule which constrained development.
The “wish list” was drawn up on July 6 but the next day Wealden District Council was forced by a court order to lift the 7km embargo. It has since set up a 15km zone where development will come under scrutiny to counter potential habitat harm.
At Monday’s full meeting of Uckfield Town Council, Cllr Paul Sparks, Liberal Democrat, North Ward, said he believed the failure to get the scheme off the ground was due to the lack of housing.
It made sense, he said, to build new accommodation in the town centre and the town council should be arguing the case.
He said: “It seemed to make a great of sense to build some new accommodation in the centre of the town.
“We then got caught up with the exclusion zone.”
Cllr Ian Smith, Independent, Ridgewood Ward, is a town council representative on the regeneration panel and said the wish list was written while the 7km rule was in force.
He added that when the plan was originally being formulated in 2006/07 architects were saying there was a need for residential development to be included in the scheme.
Town centre homes give security and “life” at night, he said, adding: “I am sure it will go back in,” he said.
He emphasised the scheme was nowhere near close to going out to tender. “When it goes out to tender, developers will come forward with ideas. We will see what they come forward with,” he said.
Deputy town mayor, Cllr Duncan Bennett, Trust Independent, New Town Ward, said mixed commercial/residential development was the way forward for town centres. It adds to security and gives soul to a precinct,” he said.
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