Jon and Sue Gothard of Ridgewood Post Office, Uckfield

Morrisons’ Uckfield plan meets storm of objections

Objections are mounting to a plan to build a Morrisons Local store in the car park of the Highlands Inn at Ridgewood, Uckfield.

Wealden District Council, the planning authority, has already received more than 40 objections and now the town council has listed a host of reasons why the project should not be allowed.

Details of the proposal were given by here

Members of the town council’s plans committee heard on Monday from Jon Gothard, owner of Ridgewood Stores and Post Office, with his wife Sue. They have been proprietors since 1986.

Vibrant premises

He said nationally the Post Office had a new attitude to its branches and wanted them in premises where there was a vibrant retail business.

“We do have a very vibrant side and we will only survive if we keep that,” he said.

The essence of the business was that it sold “little bits of everything”. Loss of parts of the business would lead to a domino effect and inevitably result in the post office closing, Mr Gothard said.

‘Its a supermarket – not a convenience store’

Stephen Colvin, of New Town, also addressed the committee.

He said the applicant was calling it a convenience store when in fact it was a supermarket.

He believed the proposed premises were four times the size of Tesco Express at Manor Park.

Mr Colvin said Morrisons’ stated marketing strategy was to target on price the discount supermarkets, such as Aldi and Lidl.

He said: “People will go to Tesco and Waitrose for their normal shopping and then come to this store to pick up low-price items. This is not like Tesco Express at Manor Park.”

Mr Colvin has also written to Wealden District Council where he said the store would be used by people from in and around Uckfield and increase traffic in that area of Ridgewood.

Over-development of site

Town councillors listed planning reasons they would not support the application. They included:

  • Over-development of the site;
  • Detrimental to the street scene;
  • Concerns over the access/exit;
  • Worries over the extra traffic that would be generated;
  • The proposal is for a supermarket and not a convenience store;
  • Insufficient parking; and
  • Conflicts with the 7km rule designed to protect the Ashdown Forest.

Councillors also pointed out that there was a vacant convenience store available on the new Fernley Park estate, off Eastbourne Road.

They will also tell Wealden that the town does not wish to lose Ridgewood Post Office which also serves as an outreach for the villages of Nutley, High Hurstwood and Isfield. They said a post office would be vital once the 1,000 homes estate is developed on Ridgewood Farm, off Lewes Road.

The chance to comment on the application remains open until June 27. Click here to link to the relevant part of the Wealden District Council website.

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*Below is an impression of the site supplied by the developer’s agent earlier this year. Eastbourne Road is on the right.

highlands grocery store 3

See also:

Race hate crime investigated by Uckfield Police 

Bus service cuts mooted by county council

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