Professional consultant needed by neighbourhood plan, says Observer

Independent columnist Observer looks at how the Uckfield Neighbourhood Plan can overcome its present crisis, urges YOU to take part in consultations over redeveloping the town centre and hands out some bouquets.

Chairing the Uckfield Neighbourhood Plan is a massive task so I am not surprised Richard Judge stood down because of a lack of time to devote to the project.

Toby Aldred's winning logo design for the Uckfield Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group.

You can see exactly what he means when he wrote to the town council:

“At this time the group need a chairman that has the time to engage with different groups, talk with professional advisors and seek guidance from Wealden Council.”

Virtually any working man or woman is likely to find that “to do” list beyond them. It is just too much for people who have full-time work and other commitments.

What should happen next

The committee is now advertising for a new chairman and secretary (Mr Judge’s wife stood down from that role).

Actually, what the committee needs is a short-term, three or four-day-a-week professional consultant to complete those tasks, under the guidance of the committee.

A committee should set the goals, monitor progress etc but you cannnot expect them to be able to carry out these detailed and complicated tasks in a place as big as Uckfield.

I hear you cry: why not recruit someone who is retired to do the work? Well, the retired are pretty busy.

It is also important that younger people control and steer the future of Uckfield and, therefore, its neighbourhood plan.

Give the neighbourhood plan impetus

A consultant working for three months could probably knock-off the majority of the background work that needs doing and make a start in writing a plan.

It will cost but would give the scheme impetus.

Maybe, Uckfield Town Council, which has been setting out priorities for the future, should consider investing some more money in the Neighbourhood Plan, if that is what is needed to keep the Plan running.

Have your say on Uckfield redevelopment

Consultation: The town centre regeneration committee is seeking YOUR views on how the town can be redeveloped.TCR UN

Don’t miss the opportunity and then jump up and down when you see major changes going on.

I commented on this last week but return to the subject because of its importance.

Uckfield needs to get this right – Burgess Hill is in line for a £65million new town centre – and now is the time to help shape the Uckfield scheme.

Have your say now and ask the hard and difficult questions.

Congratulations to . . .

Business success: Great to see the Picture House is the best in Europe. We all know it is a great place – the envy of many in towns around Uckfield – and now its official. Well done Kevin Marwick.

And while we are saying well done, the Neva Consultants team have won a regional award.

And finally, Brian Hart seemed like a lone voice in the wilderness with his BML2 rail project. Now the Chancellor George Osborne is interested and it gets mentioned in the “spec” for a government study. That’s some achievement for Brian.

See also:

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