Update on Tuesday, July 8: Plans for a new pay and display car park near the railway station in Uckfield were approved by Wealden councillors on Thursday, July 3.
Our original story on Thursday, July 3: The scheme is described as ‘well detailed and researched’ in a report to members of the planning committee, north.
The planning application is said to have generated objections but mainly support from local residents and others that frequent the town.
The plan is to provide 174 spaces, with associated cycle parking, ticket machines and landscaping, on land which used to be part of a railway goods yard, next to The Station pub and opposite the railway station. The track bed of the former railway line would not be affected.
Conditions for approval include widening a footpath, before work begins, between the proposed access road and the Frills All Round shop.
Another condition is that drainage measures be installed before the first use of the car park to prevent an increased risk of localised flooding.
The car park would mainly be for rail commuters but could also be used by other town centre visitors and shoppers.
The report says ‘significant’ comments have been made in response to the application about the usefulness of the proposed car park, bearing in mind it would be fee paying and there are currently free car parks in the town.
But it says time restrictions proposed for the Luxford Field car park would affect the ability of rail users travelling to and from London to park there.
“Some use of the public car parks may still occur, but those used to leaving their car for very long periods may be attracted to the relative security, convenience and duration offered by the proposed car park, notwithstanding the proposed fees.”
The report says there is a commitment to reviewing the duration of vehicle parking in surrounding streets. The intention is that residents and their visitors parking would not be affected, but those wishing to park all day would be.
“The Highway Authority has advised that 40 spaces would be removed from the High Street and 40 spaces would be lost close to key junctions at or around the railway station,” says the report.
Ashdown Forest 7km zone
The car park would be within 7km of the Ashdown Forest, a zone where development restrictions apply but the report says this scheme ‘would not increase demand for recreation use on the Ashdown Forest and the majority of those using the car park would do so either as part of a commute or a trip to the town centre’.
The report to councillors says: “It is considered highly unlikely that the car park would be used as part of a journey or reason to spend time on the forest.”
In terms of vehicle movements it is argued that the proposed car park would be off set by the displacement of on-street car parking in the town (80 spaces). In addition commuters currently parking within Luxford Field for longer than nine hours would no longer be able to do so.
The location is described as ‘sustainable, complementary and appropriate’ to the central location with the car park is likely to be in greater demand as Uckfield expands.
“It is considered probable that the improved services of the town will help prevent out-commuting by the populace to seek similar services, including access to the railway, in local towns such as East Grinstead, Tunbridge Wells, and Haywards Heath.”
Effect on Uckfield traffic
Comments on the planning application raised concern about daily queuing of vehicles between the Bell Lane/Boots corner and Framfield Road but the report to councillors said a package of footway widening and enhancements contained in the town centre improvement scheme would secure visibility.
A crossing, consisting of dropped kerb and tactile paving, would be built just by the bridge, but there would be no central refuge or light signal controls.
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