COMMENT BY OBSERVER
Uckfield is a very special town but sadly no different to most other places when it comes to planning for the future.
Ninety-nine times out of a hundred you will find the cart before the horse.
They say history repeats itself and it certainly does when anticipating future needs.
Let’s, for the sake of this particular argument, accept that we need to build more houses in the South East and that Uckfield has to take its “share”.
In most of walks of life when you plan an event you try to cover all eventualities. So if something is “bound to happen”, you make arrangements to cope.
This simple rule is not applied, however, when it comes to building new houses.
In fact, the rule is turned on its head. Build the houses and then provide infrastructure – if there is the money – months if not years too late.
Here are some examples with regard to the 1,000 new homes planned at Ridgewood Farm:
1. The main entrance will be from the A22 which can be choc-a-bloc at peak times. Adding the cars from 1,000 home – plus a new roundabout is hardly going to make the by-pass very attractive.
2. A lot of those people will drive into Uckfield. Surely, the roads infrastructure should be in place before the first brick is laid.
3. Schools. I see a primary school is mentioned but where is it the schedule of building. If past experience is to be believed, the school will lag well behind the first wave of houses. Secondary school places also seem to be an issue.
4. Health. I don’t see the doctors at the front door of their surgeries looking for patients. Demand is pretty steady to say the least. So where is the new surgery in the plan for 1,000 homes?
Look further afield and you will see other examples.
It is only in certain places – such as towns officially earmarked for growth/expansion do people seem to sit down and plan a coherent whole.
We in Uckfield are pushed and shoved in all sorts of directions because of housing demands. A plan for the whole town is needed not just the piece of land to be developed.
Perhaps the Neighbourhood Plan will put these things right.
At the moment it is a sorry story and shows the imbalance between those wishing to bring development to a town and those who wish to preserve a way of life which they value. Will it ever change?
See you next Saturday
*I am grateful to UckfieldNews.com to allow me the opportunity to comment on what’s happening in this town of ours. All views are my own and should not be attributed to this website or its owner.