Twenty trees could be planted in Uckfield High Street as part of the second stage of improvement works.
Beneath the trees, incorporated into pits which house them and extending into the road, could be a drainage system designed to help prevent flash flooding at the bottom of town during heavy rainfall.
Uckfield town councillor Mick Harker who is chairman of the Town Centre Regeneration Project, told an emergency meeting of Uckfield Chamber of Commerce last week that the trees to be planted would be multi-functional.
They would look nice and also help during fluvial flooding when water rushes down the High Street pooling at the bottom before gradually going away.
He said the town’s storm drain was only built to cope with a one-in-25-year storm and there had been quite a few storms of that strength in a shorter period of time.
Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems would be built into tree pits in the High Street and some of the water rushing down could go into the pits and be stored there before eventually being fed back into the storm drain.
He said the board would like to see 20 trees in the High Street and that could make a real difference to traders at the bottom of town who suffer during fluvial flooding.
Urban trees designed for an urban environment would be used. They would be Acer Streetwise with a small root ball.
The roots would be low down and wouldn’t break up the pavements. Any trees which were damaged or died would be replaced.
The tree pits require basic maintenance, such as the removal of sediments and litter, replacement of mulch and ensuring inlets and outlets are clear. Maintenance is typically required twice a year.
A survey was being done on the location of cellars and basements to determine where the tree pits could go.
Trial pits are to be dug in February to make sure utilities are not discovered. This would avoid a problem during the first stage of works when a gas main and main power feed were discovered four inches below the surface.
Once the board knows where the trees can go, loading and unloading bays can be reconfigured and traffic management options for carrying out the works can be drawn up and consulted on.
The Chamber meeting was told that proposals – in addition to the trees and drainage system – for the second stage of High Street improvements, which are currently under review, are likely to include:
- Widening pavements to eliminate pedestrian pinch points
- New Yorkstone paving
- Loading and unloading bays
- Disabled parking
- Pick-up and drop-off bays with waiting limited to 20-minute periods
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