Observer: Give us a vision to prevent Uckfield becoming a planning mess

Observer, our independent Saturday columnist, calls for a vision of how the whole of Uckfield should develop and look over the next 20 years.


The first stage of the 1,000 homes development at Ridgewood Farm edges ever closer. If the developer wants advertising hoardings, they must be thinking of starting building soon.

Of course, the 1,000 homes are not going to appear all at once but, more likely, over a ten-year period.

Uckfield is in for a bout of indigestion as it swallows up all the newcomers.

However, it has coped in the past.

Long-time Uckfield residents will have seen Manor Park built out, Rocks Park, Harlands Farm and many more.

Uckfield will change

So, we have to accept that Uckfield has changed – and will change again.

What must not be allowed to happen is for the new building to knock the stuffing out of our town.

I visited a town I once knew well last month and was horrified.

‘Down at heel’ town

A rather pretty place, with attractive streets, was an amorphous mess of new buildings, estates and, frankly, it was scruffy and down at heel; instead of the rather prosperous place I remembered.

The character had gone. It left me feeling sad.

Let’s hope all the changes we are to see in Uckfield don’t result in townsfolk feeling down in the dumps.

What is needed a “vision” for Uckfield…a written plan of what the town wants to be in 20 years time.

Neighbourhood plan

The best hope for that is from the Uckfield Neighbourhood Plan steering group.

This is a plan “of the people” – it is not being drawn up by the town, district or county councils.

It is local people drawing together information from residents that should help guide the planning process in years to come.

More power to their pens and I hope they can produce something that is bold, visionary and lasting.

Uckfield Neighbourhood Plan (external link)

 New rail timetable


Southern’s proposed timetable for the Uckfield Line from next May is like the curate’s egg: good in parts.

  • More frequent services are to be liked.
  • The loss of the 05:16 service, arriving in London before 6:30 is to be deplored.
  • Longer journey times, with services calling at all stations, is a disappointment.

People campaigned long for the early train and the then MP Charles Hendry battled our case. I hope Nus Ghani, who followed Mr Hendry into Parliament representing Wealden, will similarly battle to ensure his good work is not lost.

See also:

Wastewater works  to cost £8.9m

Duo succeed in completing 100km walk

 Former Uckfield firefighter writes about the tragedy of austerity

Find local businesses in our Uckfield Directory

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