It looks like our Saturday independent columnist Observer, was well and truly in the Christmas spirit at Uckfield Late-Night shopping.
It was a delight to make it back to Uckfield at the end of a week’s work away from Sussex in time to enjoy the Late-Night Shopping evening.
I was ten minutes late which isn’t bad for Southern on a Friday night.
Three things struck me as I wandered the High Street, taking in the entertainment and popping into the shops.
- There was a fabulous atmosphere with the age range of people out from babes in arms to those well into retirement. That truly makes late-night shopping a family event
- The organisation was superb. Everything appeared to run smoothly. There was a reassuring army of ‘yellow vests’ [unlike those with a similar name in France].
- I will leave my third thought for next week – it is, to put your minds at rest, not a negative about late-night shopping but where the example might take Uckfield in the future.
Today I want to properly shine the spotlight on a great night.
It is only right to place on the record my appreciation for:
Chamber of Commerce
Uckfield Chamber of Commerce for organising (again) such a great event for the town;
- The shopkeepers for getting into the spirit of Christmas; and
- The dozens of volunteers who helped make it a success.
- The Air Training Corps youngsters were out again, helping when Uckfield needs help.
Please remember the ATC when they ask for help.
It was also good to see other uniformed youth groups playing a part.
Well done. . . and I loved the ATC youngster who walked yards to put a sweet wrapper into a plastic bag taped to a wall.
Those bags, I assume, were the work of Brighter Uckfield.
Apologies if I am wrong but it’s the sort of thing they do.
We also had the town mayor out front, leading by example.
I also noticed the absence of police officers, although of course I may not have seen them.
If they were their presence was not particularly visible and this looks to me like a well-judged response from Sussex Police, which Uckfield can take as a compliment.
Deployment of resources
I am sure the police assess such public events most carefully and their (correct) view was that the likelihood of problems was low and scarce resources could be deployed elsewhere to better effect.
The town centre now benefits from greatly improved CCTV.
The whole event could be monitored from Lewes, with officers deployed if needed.
We would, of course, have welcomed any police officers on patrol but fully understand that it was thought there were greater priorities on a Friday night.
The town and the organisers can take encouragement from this.
All in all, late-night shopping was a great example of Team Uckfield doing the business.
I don’t normally remark on comments made on Facebook after the publication of my weekly piece.
However, just a couple of points to make after last week’s piece about the town council’s spending plans and the decision, which I criticised, to spend £6,000 on grass cutting.
One person said it was important to keep clear views for drivers and pedestrians.
Couldn’t agree more.
However, even though the county council has reduced grass cutting, it has promised to keep visibility splays clear.
Another reader said they believed the Uckfield Trust councillors do the best for the town.
Again, no argument.
I’m sure all town councillors do their best for the town.
Regular readers of this column will have seen how I have frequently praised the work of the council.
With regard to the decision on cutting the roadside grass verges I made some inquiries of the UckfieldNews reporter who was at the meeting.
He told me the council was split eight votes in favour of paying for extra grass cutting with six against.
He said the debate truly split the council chamber but said it was not possible to say who voted in favour and who voted against because the vote was not officially recorded.
However, he made the following points.
- Trust councillors have a similar ethos but they are, by name and nature, independent;
- They do NOT operate as a political ‘group’ where they all toe a previously agreed line. In fact, there are occasions when they disagree with each other and vote in different ways.
On this occasion, the reporter said, some, although he did not know how many, Trust Independent members voted against the grass cutting proposal.
To me, that is all good news.
There is no doubt, grass cutting is a very contentious issue and I am delighted it was discussed throughly by Uckfield town councillors who received a full and detailed report from their clerk.
I don’t agree with the decision, as I have made plain, but will defend the democratic processes that gave us the decision.
To me, there is delight that it was such a close call because it demonstrates the “free will” of Uckfield town councillors.
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