Observer: Regeneration dream may be over – time to concentrate on High Street?

Comment by Observer

Supermarket woes look to be behind the stalling of Uckfield’s long-awaited regeneration project.

If there was an anchor tenant for the project – a significant supermarket – you can bet your bottom dollar this scheme would be blasting ahead.

Supermarkets once could do no wrong. Expansion opportunities seemed limitless as profits rose.

This particular gravy train hit the buffers.

Steady food prices, a change in people’s habits away from the big weekly shop, the growth of the “mini” store all dulled the big supermarkets’ lustre.

The biggest factor was the growth of discounters, such as Lidl and Aldi, and the fact that people took them to their hearts.

More austere interiors and “brands” we had never heard of seem to matter not a jot.

Word of the quality soon spread and it was that – along with the prices – which caused a shift in shopping habits.

I, like many in Uckfield, had imagined that Lidl or Aldi would be the main contenders for the second supermarket in the town; a key component of the regeneration.

If they have cold feet, who is there to step in?

This is the second time the regeneration project has hit a huge snag.

The recession brought the first long delay to the scheme which would change forever the area around the Luxford Field.

We shall see what happens in September. The shopping climate may change and it may be possible one big anchor tenant can be found for the development.

If not, it may be best to knock this particular scheme on the head and direct all efforts towards ensuring Uckfield has a thriving and vibrant High Street.

Town centre regeneration plans have stalled

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