Two Uckfield green spaces, Boothland Wood and the Millennium Green, are not big enough in their own right to keep people away from the Ashdown Forest.
They will, therefore, not be suitable on their own as SANGS (Suitable Alternative Natural Green Spaces) to help mitigate the effect of building 1,000 new homes west of Uckfield.
The green spaces needed for the new development will be funded by a “roof tax” on the developers and must be maintained and secured in perpetuity.
Surveys have shown Boothland Wood (owned by the town council) and the Millennium Green (owned by a community-based charity) could not on their own divert people away from the Ashdown Forest area of special protection.
It may be possible, says a Wealden District Council report, through “careful and considered design that a suite of Suitable Alternative Natural Greens Spaces could be created.
“This could be achieved by providing green links to connect Boothland Wood and Uckfield Millennium Green with other additional suitable green space either within the development site or potentially adjacent to the existing sites.
“The purpose of this would be to enlarge the combined area of the sites, to increase the overall attractiveness of the provision and ensure that a lengthy walk is provided of at least 2.5km.”
The report states the wood and the green are predominantly used by dog walkers but do not act as a substitute or counter attraction to the Forest.
There are also concerns that the size and proximity of the new houses to these sites may lead to a “busy or urban feel that may affect people’s enjoyment and use of them.
“For these sites to work as part of a suite of Suitable Alternative Natural green Spaces, it is therefore considered that a significant proportion of additional land will be required to ensure that the sites can (in combination with each other) absorb both existing recreational use as well as the use that is likely to arise from the development.” the report states.
It adds that people go to the Ashdown Forest because of its open and wild feel.
“Whilst it is appreciated that the delivery of a suite of SANGS within and adjacent to the development site will not be able to fully replicate the qualities provided at Ashdown Forest, it will be imperative that a scheme seeks to aspire to providing a good quality mitigation solution, the report concludes.
The provision of SANGS is the responsibility of the developer of the land west of Uckfield working with landowners, the district council and Natural England.