Solar forecourt ‘would drive wedge into open land’

Building a solar electric forecourt on the outskirts of Uckfield could allow the town eventually to spread westwards to Buckham Hill and Maresfield.

The red marker shows where Buckham Hill is in relation to Uckfield. Town councillors want to maintain the countryside gap.

The warning came at a meeting of the town council’s plans committee which for the third time objected to the plan from Gridserve for land south of Copwood Farm to the west of the by-pass.

The application, which will be determined by Wealden District Council, has been before the town council three times because of changes made by the applicant.

In a nutshell, the town council’s argument is: great idea, wrong place.

Outer boundary

Councillors argue the A22 should be the outer boundary of Uckfield and if it’s breached, development could spread across the open land to the west.

They feel the proposed site will do nothing to benefit Uckfield.

Cllr Duncan Bennett said the scheme’s green credentials were those the town council would have hoped to welcome but added:

“We simply can’t. It is not in the right place.”

The solar array was not the problem but the forecourt.

“It is outside our development boundary.


“It drives a wedge into the western approaches of Uckfield.

“If this is granted, we could see open season that would drive Uckfield westwards to Buckham Hill.

“It removes our protective armour that keeps the strategic gap between us and the villages.

“We should be welcoming such development but welcoming it in a location which not only benefits the people of Uckfield and the environment,” Cllr Bennett said.


Cllr Ben Cox said the plan made sense, he understood the economic case, and backed the proposal.

Cllr Chris Macve asked why the forecourt could not be established within the business area of the Ridgewood Farm development or at the Maresfield development.

“It could go next to the Shell garage at Blackdown. We don’t want to extend Uckfield to the western side of the by-pass.

“Once you start, there will be no stopping it.”

He said if the project proved unviable it could possibly become housing as it would be classed as a brownfield site.

“Off it goes then to Buckham Hill, Maresfield, and everywhere,” he said.

See also:

Uckfield school scoops pioneering mental health award

Wealden planning notification switch – ‘a cut too far’

Uckfield trains: services to be temporarily reduced

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