Uckfield townspeople are reacting on the Uckfield News Facebook page to a Chamber of Commerce vote to return developer’s money rather than carry out improvements to the town’s High Street.
Madeleine Judge says: “Return the money and say goodbye to any investor ever wanting to come to the town. There will be no replacement money, no town improvements.”
In another comment Madeleine said: “Goodbye Uckfield if you do this. Shocked the Chamber want the town to close down. Without this plan there will be no investment in Uckfield and the town will continue to get shabbier and shabbier.”
Michael Lucas said: “Only 25 out of over 200 members voted!”
Jacques Dopson responded: “Would imagine the low attendance was because most members feel that the COC cannot really do anything at this stage. Whilst I voted to return the funds, it’s the lesser of two evils. We want change, we don’t want 5-8 months of disruption.”
See our report on the Chamber meeting here: Uckfield Chamber members vote to return developers’ money.
Richard Judge said on the Uckfield News Facebook page that he was appalled that the Chamber of Commerce was being so short-sighted.
“Uckfield High Street is already struggling which is demonstrated by the number of shops moving premises to the Southern end or simply packing it in. Freeholders are allowing shop buildings to fall into disrepair some of them within the preservation area.
“I fail to see how refusing improvements to the High Street helps address this trend. Can they not see that unless people can be attracted to the High Street selection stores will dwindle? Not every business is suited to those who simply want to park their car and grab something.
“Trees. Why does the chamber have such an aversion to trees? In what way will trees be detrimental to businesses on the High Street? Do they believe that the residents of Uckfield somehow don’t deserve better pavements or visual improvements like trees?
“In my mind attractive natural features like trees will enhance the area and encourage people to stay in the High Street longer. They will at least go some way to balance the over dominance of cars.
“What I’m presumably missing is that trees take spaces that can be used by cars. More cars is what the chamber of commerce want. A steady stream of cars pulling in and out like the waiting zone at an airport with nobody actually stopping to look at the High Street or actually do some shopping.
“Not only do they dismiss trees but also feel the necessity to suggest that bus stop shelters are not required. I feel like they are overstepping what is the remit of a chamber of commerce.
“In what way will bus shelters be detrimental to businesses in the High Street? What could the possible business ramifications of bus shelters be? ‘It was suggested members of the public could shelter under shop awnings if it rained while they were waiting for buses.’
“Which shops in the High Street have awnings that are out on a rainy day? Presumably they don’t feel shelters are necessary because they don’t get the bus themselves.
“I am sure they will be comfortable enough in their cars while the elderly, children and those on lower incomes cower under shop awnings in the rain. If the chamber feel they need to have a say about transport policy they will need to come up with something that is not based solely on cars and tarmac and dismissing the needs of those who cannot drive.
“This only goes to show that the Chamber’s decisions are based solely on benefits to themselves and are not supportive of the wider population. “Let them eat cake” springs to mind.
“The chamber should be more customer focused and realise that not everybody drives and not everybody is just using the town as a convenience.
“They are throwing away a chance for some proper investment in the town in favour of a blinkered “if it ain’t broke” approach. What are they offering to help prevent the slow demise of the High Street to the online retailers?
“Not every problem can be resolved with car parks and black tarmac. I sincerely hope that the Town Council has a more constructive approach to the Town Centre Regeneration at their meeting.”
Ian Goldsmith said: “… I feel it is imperative the improvements works go ahead, or Uckfield will be left behind. Shame on the few busybody traders who seem to think they have a right to bully the town into returning the money.
“I would agree that this is nothing but short-sightedness and is poor business planning.
“A little pain now will lead to a much more prosperous High Street and not just one left full of charity shops.”