The view of Ridgewood Recreation Ground from an upstairs room at Annette Butler's home in New Road. Part of the boundary fence of the old, much smaller play area, which extended to the right, can be seen to the right of the picture.

Planning enforcement officers to investigate building of extended play area at Ridgewood

Residents of New Road, Uckfield, are relieved that planning enforcement officers are to take a look at Ridgewood Recreation Ground where work is progressing on new play facilities.


New play equipment, including zip wire posts, goes on to Ridgewood Recreation Ground.

They are upset that, as neighbours, Uckfield Town Council didn’t consult them formally about plans for the playground which they say is beginning to look like a fairground rather than a recreation ground.

Annette Butler said the extension was massive. “Why they don’t think they require planning permission for this I don’t know. I am appalled at the town council.”


The multi-use games area takes shape. Sloping land was levelled before the concrete base was laid.

Annette said she knew people would accuse her of being a NIMBY (Not in My Back Yard) protester but the reality was that it was “vandalism of a rural area”.

She said New Road residents had not been consulted about the plans and she knew nothing about them until a notice went up on a gate to say work was due to begin.

She had spoken to Wealden’s planning department and had been told that enforcement officers would look at the site.

She added the play area was being extended well into a designated village green and the multi-use games area was being built on what was previously allotments as can be seen in an old photograph below. There had been no change of use application for that land.


An old photograph of Ridgewood which shows New Road running from left to right across the centre. Building is under way, top left, on the Pipers Field Estate, and the land next to that has also since been developed. The green fields, top right, have also been built on. Ridgewood Recreation Ground and allotments and Millennium Green land can be seen at the bottom of the picture. Some of the allotment land was used to extend the recreation ground and the multi-use games area is being built on part of that.


Present day Ridgewood, as seen on Google Earth, again with New Road stretching from left to right across the cenre of the picture. It is possible to see here the reduced area of allotments and development above New Road.

The town council held a public exhibition of designs for the playground and asked for comments on them, but New Road residents said that was totally different to a consultation that would have taken place if a planning application had been submitted.

Another resident Michael Williams said the building work was covering a much bigger area than even he originally thought and he was pleased to be told by  Wealden Council that a planning enforcement officer would investigate. “Everyone who lives here is totally up in arms,” he added.

A spokesman for Wealden Council said: “We are carrying out an assessment of the site and the work being carried out and won’t be able to make any further comment until after this has taken place.”

A comment was published from Uckfield Town Council last week when New Road residents began efforts to prevent work going ahead on the play ground. See what they said in our original story here: Last ditch effort to stop work on Ridgewood play area fails.

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