Uckfield resident of 44 years foresees town grinding to a halt

An Uckfield resident who read Uckfield News Observer comments on Saturday about the potential for 1,000 new homes to bring gridlock to the by-pass contributes his thoughts on the town’s infrastructure here:

I have to agree with your Observer regarding the proposed housing expansion in Uckfield and the lack of provision of suitable infrastructure, writes I.R. who has lived in the New Town area for 44 years.

Why is it only those that live in areas of development that can foresee the problems yet the ‘professional’ town planners continue to operate from within their statistical bubble and ignore the views of those who actually suffer from the already overloaded networks?

We are constantly told that the ‘rich South’ gets richer through investment, however, I travel ‘up North’ two or three times a year and each time I am amazed by the level of investment in development projects in housing, retail and industry/commerce.

The overriding image, however, is that of construction work being undertaken to provide a local road infrastructure that appears to me to be future-proofing the area of development.

While we as a town are spending millions to make pavements look the same as 40 years ago – there’s a picture showing pavements from that era here – it appears to me that the ‘poor’ northern regions are spending their money wisely to invest in their future as they develop their communities in a considerate manner with adequate provision.

Pavements open up again between The Lounge and Peacocks.

New paving slabs in Uckfield. Not so different from those 40 years ago.

We however, cannot convert a doctor’s surgery back into a house because it will destroy the Ashdown Forest yet, apparently, we can build 1,000 houses with a couple of green spaces and the forest will survive despite the additional 1,500 <-+> cars.

Now I truly do believe the Ashdown Forest to be a beautiful, magical and enchanting place that must be preserved and yes, I love Winnie the Pooh, but please, even he wouldn’t believe what is going on.

We live in an area where the roads are poor, overcrowded and dangerous. Where, despite vast improvements in rolling stock, the railway is oversubscribed with the Uckfield line being a casualty of its own success. Be on the train by Crowborough or stand all the way!

This is also a town:

  • Where we intend to improve the bus station but the bus services have proposed cuts.
  • Where we claim to support local businesses but intend to remove on street parking in the High Street and increase ‘major retail development’.
  • Where the ‘preferred option’ town plan is now viewed as ‘that was then and this is now’.
  • Where the Police Station could be replaced by a ‘public contact point’ from where, presumably, and if you’re lucky enough to find it open, advice could be sought as to what happened to that lovely little market town that used to be around here!

No, I am not against development and I fully accept that our towns must evolve to cater for a growing and ageing population. However, if that increased population joins the area’s already vast transient population in their daily attempt to get into, out of, or around Uckfield by road, rail or bus without an increased capacity, we will all just grind to a halt.

It is not just you Mr or Mrs Observer for I too must be missing the point somewhere. Uckfield has always been a town based upon the community. We are now creating a mini urban sprawl with individual communities in fields spread far and wide from the town. How will these thousands of new residents access the town centre? By car of course!

Read Observer’s column here: Permanent gridlock on Uckfield by-pass when 1,000 homes built?

And here’s a comment from M. Crossfield of Forge Rise:

I must totally agree with the two comments regarding the expansion of Uckfield. Why is it that the average man or women in the street can see the problems that 1000 additional houses are going to cause in Uckfield, so why cannot the council or planners?

Two hundred houses distributed around the outlying towns and villages would largely go unnoticed, but 1000 in one area is far too many, it is the continuation of the destruction of Uckfield.

With an additional roundabout on the bypass and the obvious congestion it will cause, how many drivers will then start using the town instead, just as they are narrowing the High Street.

I have lived in the town for almost 30 years and have already seen the gradual downturn of the pleasant country town I originally moved to.

The last time I tried to get a doctor’s appointment, it took a total of three days.

How much worse can it get. We already have a problem on our estate with commuters parking all day. The council is relying on the station car park being used instead of Luxford, when it is limited to nine hours, but if you have.been used to parking for free, are you going to be happy to pay £80 a month, the problems will only get worse.

Sandra Green says:

I totally agree with the resident of Uckfield for 44 and the person from Forge Rise who added a comment.

When will the powers that be listen to residents who experience problems first hand in the town. The works going on at the moment impact on everybody who live in the south side of the town when trying to get home at night after a hard days work.

Living where I do we have people who work at Willmoths, commuters and now shoppers who are afraid to get caught up in the diversion to get home as well as office staff at the Mill, who do not and will not park in their office car park because of the diversion to get home, parking in the road.

I have always said that the station car park will be Uckfields biggest white elephant as at £4 a day will not be used by many – if any commuters!

It is extremely frustrating not being able to park outside your house when returning home from anywhere that you chose to go. I also think that nine hours for luxfords is not quite long enough for shop staff who work in the town. If they work an eight day an extra hour might not be long enough to set up or clear up after a day’s trading.

It is not fair to penalise these people who work in the town with the parking limits. Wherever we turn to for help in the town nobody seems bothered to help if its not their problem!

If you would like to share your views please email cathy@uckfieldnews.com.

John Stears says:

How I agree with I.R re the town “improvements”.

Of all the so called information given by the powers that be, no-one can or will answer the questiion “WHY?” A narrower High Street with no on-street parking will improve traffic flow! I can’t wait for the first delivery lorry to arrive!

Restrictions on long term parking in Luxfords Field will be better for parkers(???), Unless of course you are a full time 9-5 worker in Uckfield (NOT a commuter) in which case you will get a ticket for exceeding the 9 hour Max.

1000 new houses. Lets assume one car per house ( probably nearer 1.5 or 2). Let’s hope they don’t want to use the by pass or roads into Uckfield, or wish to park in Uckfield.

No doubt the planners have assumed the new houses will not contain any children – therefore no need for additional capacity for Primary or the fully occupied UCTC. I could go on and on, but what’s the point?

We know that with these people it is very much a case of “this is our decision now let’s discuss it”. So called public consultation is a joke. I do wonder what vested interests are involved in all these plans and decisions.

Mel Sanders, Forge Close, says:

I attended most of the meetings with the councils and developers about the Ridgewood Farm development,and ran the Ridings action group against further development in Uckfield.

That was over two-and-a-half years ago, but no one listened then. Now it’s to become a reality people are wakening to the consequences it will have on the town.

Back in 2009 ESCC highways stated any further development in Uckfield will give rise to the issue of capacity on the A22 bypass due to it already operating close to its intended design capacity at
peak periods.

Since then about 350 new houses have been built in Uckfield.

As well as the 1000 houses to be built on Ridgewood farm there are 14 to go next to St.Philips school in New Town, plus 113 behind the hospital at Harlands.

Modifications to the Ridgewood site propose an increase in 4/5 bedroom houses from an original number of 117 to 260. By building larger houses it usually means larger occupancy and more
cars per household, this site could increase the population of Uckfield by 20 per cent.

Of all these extra cars, at least 1500 will be using the narrow two lane bypass and the town car parks, and our councils want to scrap high street parking where about 600 cars a day use the high
street parking.

All will have to use Luxford and Bell Walk car parks, but if full they will have to use the new station car park when it is eventually built, but at a cost.

See also:

Uckfield bank manager Richard page takes early retirement

Gangsta Granny joins James Bond at Framfield school event

Evidence of bygone eras revealed at Picture House, Uckfield

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How to advertise on UckfieldNews.com

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