The procurement process has begun with an organisation, called Capita, appointed by the Uckfield Town Centre Regeneration Joint Committee to identify potential development partners, invite shortlisted partners to tender, then assess and evaluate returned tenders and award the contract.
A report to a meeting of the joint committee last week said the high level vision for Uckfield is: “A contemporary market town with an ‘up-market’ image, known for its successful and varied shopping facilities and commercial opportunities, offering an attractive and welcoming environment, maintaining its own distinctive identity and acting as a hub for surrounding towns and villages.”
Objectives to support the vision are:
- Provision of additional retail floor space for a variety of retail and social outlets
- The development of a mixed use and attractive High Street
- Increased and improved civic realm, including a civic square
- Improved use of green space, including Luxford Field, to provide enhanced recreational and social facilities
- Inclusion of residential development to enable mixed use
- Increased employment opportunities through retail and other development
- Redevelopment and provision of educational facilities and
- Improved parking provision.
Public sector partners – whose representatives make up the joint committee – Uckfield Town Council, Wealden District Council and East Sussex County Council hold ‘significant town centre landholdings’ which will be made available on appropriate terms to enable a successful regeneration project to progress.
The report says a decision has still not been made about whether the school on the development site (Holy Cross Primary) will be re-developed or re-located and this needs to be made as soon as possible to enable accurate specification documents to be produced.
The committee agreed that engaging and communicating with local residents would be crucial for the success of the scheme. A strategy has been drawn up to achieve this and a more detailed overall plan is to be developed..
Each council has agreed to contribute an initial £50,000 for 2014/15 to meet expenditure associated with the project.
A provisional budget allows for a further contribution of £50,000 each in 2015/16 if required.
The budget includes £41,000 in 2014/15 to cover Capita’s work on the procurement project from conception to award.
£70,000 has been allocated over the two years for legal support and £15,000 over the two years for communications.
There’s a contingency fund of £80,869 over the two years.
Read too an earlier UckfieldNews.com story about redevelopment of the town centre: Plans to redevelop heart of Uckfield brought forward