All the things which might have made redevelopment possible have fallen by the wayside.
- Major supermarkets and retailers are not interested
- There’s limited potential for residential development as part of the project
- The Holy Cross School site is not available in the short term.
Three councils – Uckfield Town, Wealden District, and East Sussex County – which own land in the centre of town have been working together on potential regeneration.
But they put plans hold last year for the reasons listed above and a new report says that while nothing has changed since then things could change in the future.
Discount food store
The report says a discount food store chain continues to express an interest in having a stand-alone store but this wouldn’t meet the project’s wider objectives.
Those objectives are: “To enable the sensitive redevelopment and expansion of Uckfield town centre, including additional net retail floor space of around 10,000 square metres and increased public and recreational space, as part of a comprehensive scheme of improvements which will increase the attractiveness of Uckfield by creating a vibrant and inclusive town centre.”
The report says: “Given the lack of significant expansion plans by the major supermarkets and retailers, and their consequent lack of interest in the town centre reinvestment project; given the limited potential for any residential development as part of the project; and given the position regarding Holy Cross School, which will be subject to further consideration by East Sussex County Council when the need for primary school places to serve the Welbeck development arises some years hence, it is concluded that there are no viable options for progressing the project at this time.
“This does not rule out the possibility of the project becoming viable in the future, particularly if the Holy Cross School site becomes available or the retail or residential position (or both) become viable and it is therefore recommended that officers keep the situation under review.”
The report recommends that any further meetings of the Uckfield Town Centre Regeneration Joint Committee are held in abeyance unless the prospects for the viability of the project improve through an increase in the high street retail environment, or sufficient increased housing numbers can be allocated to Uckfield town centre.