Uckfield town councillors have met with developers who want to build 1,000 homes at Ridgewood Farm, Uckfield.
The meeting, held on March 19, was requested by Welbeck Lane after they learned that the council’s plans committee decided against supporting their planning application.
A council press release said councillors sought answers to many questions raised by the public and they learned:
1. There are two alternative locations on the site for doctor facilities, if the need for the facilities is proven.
2. Whilst there is a contribution to the roads budget ‘pot’ of money, this is not specifically allocated to a particular road scheme
3. There are two options for the maintenance of the SANGS (Suitable Alternative Natural Green Space) into the future, neither of which will pass responsibility to the Town Council
4. Money from the development is available to contribute to the costs of extending Uckfield Community Technology College to meet increased demand (from residents on the development) for secondary school education, and for providing a ‘one form entry’ Primary School on the development site with the possibility of this being a ‘two form entry’ school subject to discussion with the County Council
5. The first tranche of housing, which could come on stream early in 2016, will be in the South West corner, alongside Lewes Road and close to the Little Horsted roundabout. Traffic to/from this sector will use Lewes Road
6. The allocation of car park facilities for access to the SANGS off Horsted Pond Lane is at the insistence of Wealden District Council
7. The County Council’s Roads and Transport Department alone have expressed satisfaction that the by-pass will be able to satisfactorily handle increased traffic without a need to increase its capacity, and that no traffic measures will need to be introduced to handle access to and egress from the development in the South West corner onto the Lewes Road. The roundabout on the by-pass will be of a similar size as the Little Horsted roundabout
8. Provision of car parking facilities on the development will be in accordance with the standards in place at the time, including the size of the garages
9. Affordable houses-for-rent will be provided, with the agreement of the District Council, as the development progresses, but many factors will need to be considered and negotiated upon in seeking agreement on the percentage of social housing on the site.
10. The cycle path into Victoria Pleasure Ground and through Forge Rise will be provided once the development extends into the North East corner, and that there is potential for conflict with the County Council regarding the width of the path at one particular point
11. All the pathways within the development will be in accordance with the standards laid down by the County Council
12. The landowners will give consideration to a request from Councillors/the public attending the Plans Committee meeting for a public information exchange meeting. More-precise drawings of how the development might look will become available once the outline planning stage is completed and when further details are agreed with the District Council.
The council press release said councillors thanked the landowners’ representatives for their openness and frankness at the meeting and hoped this type and level of exchange of information would be used in the future, as the development moves forward.
Councillors also asked that a meeting with county council representatives was held as soon as possible to deal with issues relating to traffic movement and safety and the provision of cycle paths.
• The council’s plans committee decision was as follows:
“Resolved not to support the application in its current format on the following grounds:
a) The A22 requires improvements to cope with the additional traffic
b) That an alternative access road to the SANGS be sought
c) Would like a strong assurance that 35% of homes be affordable housing
d) Would like to see the developer address the wider infrastructure including:
i) Health – concerns that the current GP service will be inadequate to cope with demand.
e) Would request that there be an effective consultation with the public and would suggest the developer holds a manned public event with a questions and answers session.
f) Concerns over the narrowness of cycle access point at Forge Rise.”
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