High Street must remain open both ways while improvement works go on, says Observer

Observer, our independent commentator, is unhappy over the latest plans for High Street improvements, is boiling over this week’s fiasco on the Uckfield line and ‘sees stars’.


East Sussex County Council’s “take it, or leave it” ultimatum over plans for improving Uckfield High Street is most unhelpful and an affront to democracy.

The officials at county hall in Lewes have never really understood the Uckfield psyche; the most high-profile example being the proposal for a gyratory system between the railway station and the Tesco roundabout.

I can understand frustration building up over how long it is taking to win approval for the second stage of the High Street roadworks. However, that is no reason to stop talking and negotiating.

‘Acceptable’ number of parking spaces

Twenty-three parking spaces is far more acceptable than the original plan. Over a one hour period, that equates to 46 spaces – which is more than we have at the moment with parking limited to one hour.

The key, of course, is enforcement. I’m told people have started parking all day again in the High Street due to the lack of regular enforcement.

The real problem with the improvements, as I see it, is the length of time the works will take.

Full close is a ‘non-starter’

The shortest amount of time the works can be done in, according to a poster I saw at the exhibition (reproduced within this story), is 20 weeks with the road totally closed. That equals no Luxford car park.

That’s a non-starter.

Closure in two halves would allow access to the car park and the work to be done in 24 weeks. That’s only marginally better.

The council really seems to favour a 32-week build with one-way traffic. Surely the High Street from Bell Lane to Church Street doesn’t need to be closed one-way for all that time.

Doesn’t anyone remember the effect of the much shorter closure of the High Street between Bell Lane and Framfield Road?

What appears to be the most sensible solution is ruled out on cost grounds – a shuttle system of working with temporary traffic lights would take 52 weeks.

I would suggest this is the best way of working, IF the work is completed in relatively short sections.

Trim some of the more marginal stuff from the plan to fund the extra length of contract needed.

Put Southern ‘in the dock’

COMMUTERS on the Uckfield Line look at train operating company Southern in a pretty poor light.

For what seems the umpteenth time this year, the service this week has been appalling. Cancellations, over-crowding and just plain late has been the order of the day.

Wealden MP Nus Ghani needs to work with colleagues in Sussex to drag Southern’s management up before a Parliamentary Select Committee and give them a grilling.

Public condemnation of the company’s failures are not working. A day in Parliament might focus the company on getting the problems sorted.

At the same time, the Office of Rail Regulation, whose “vision is that Britain’s railways should deliver safety, performance and efficiency equivalent to the best comparable railways in the world” needs to wake up and get on Southern’s case.

Surely Southern cannot keep the franchise with a performance record like this.

Seeing the Stars

STAR-STRUCK: Dancer Ian Waite last Saturday at the Civic Centre and the Dark Destroyer from The Chase at Manor School yesterday . . . it really feels as if we are walking with the stars in Uckfield. A real coup for us.

See also:

Full coverage of memorial service for Fr Martin Onions

Banned drinkers to go “dry” in Uckfield and Crowborough

Need a service? Visit the Uckfield Directory first

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