Uckfield town centre is not able to support the Ridgewood Farm development of 1,000 homes, according to East Sussex County Council’s Highways Department.
In concluding a recommendation to Wealden Council’s planning committee north – which is being advised by its own officers to approve an outline application – the highways department says: “The proposal provides a variety of land uses comparable to a large village, but is reliant on services in the town centre/High Street.
“The view is that the town centre is not able to support the development from a commercial and employment point of view and compromises the sustainability objectives being offered as there would be a shortage of local jobs and the High Street would be less attractive than other accessible commercial centres such as Tunbridge Wells, Lewes, Haywards heath and Brighton.
“The development proposal is therefore looked at in isolation and seemingly turns its back onto the town, and becomes a separate settlement.
“The traffic enters and exits away from the town centre and in some respects this is deliberate to promote walking and cycling, but the allowance to realistically achieve walkable distances is limited to the northern part of the site. “
The highways department says in its report to Wealden planning committee north, which meets on Thursday, June 11, that while the majority of the site can access some public transport the southern section of around 125-200 dwellings cannot.
“South of the site is considered to be inaccessible and totally unsustainable. There are no real options to travel other than the private car and the quantum of housing is almost 25% of the housing element.
“The central section of the site comprises the school and a large part of the housing quantum. These properties would be close to the main road network and also the re-routed bus service.
“Distance to the town centre becomes unrealistic for day to day walking journeys. It is assumed that journeys to the school will be contained in the main, but if journeys to work by car pass the school, there is a presumption that children will be driven.
“Taking on board that the school has potential to be a two form entry opens the school to out of Ridgewood, which is also likely to generate car journeys, and for which a travel plan would not apply.
“The outcome of this development proposal is that it would become unsustainable even though it is accompanied by limited sustainable options. Therefore, the Highway Authority is not able to support this planning application.
“If Wealden District Planning Committee is minded to approve this development, highways will require the following within a s106 agreement:
1.Travel plan for land uses of the development – school, housing, employment; with appropriate monitoring timescales and audit fees
2.Off-site highway works as listed and agreed (excluding Bell Lane widening)
3.Appropriate financial contribution towards junction at Earwig Corner, Ringmer
4.Bus –re-routed services with appropriate infrastructure internally within the site – bus stops, gates, shelters, RTPI, kerbing
5.Introduction and management of a Car Club
6.TRO for extension of the 30 mph speed limit and traffic calming features on the Lewes Road C58
The highways department says proposed access points would be secured through a s278 agreement. It is expected that the internal layout would be expected to be constructed to an adoptable standard with a view for future adoption.
An overview of the report to Wealden’s planning committee north can be seen here: Uckfield 1,000 homes outline plan recommended for approval.
The full report to the committee can be seen here.
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