Opportunities for the public to comment on plans to build a 174-space station car park at Uckfield close today (April 24).
The proposal – see details here - has already prompted comments to Wealden District Council.
One resident has expressed worries that a pedestrian crossing between the station and the new car park will cause traffic chaos.
Steve Colvin of Newtown, wrote to the district council: “The plans show a pedestrian crossing between the car park and the signal box.
“This is just 30 metres from the traffic lights at Bell Lane. Whilst this new crossing is red it will stop traffic exiting Bell Lane and turning right making what is already a really difficult situation impossible.
“We know from the pedestrian crossing in Bell Lane that the pedestrian crossing light cannot be synchronised with the traffic lights and that situation already causes great difficulty.
“I would request that a condition is levied that either a pedestrian footbridge is provided or pedestrians are instructed to cross at the existing crossing at the Bell Lane junction.”
In comments to Wealden District Council planning department Richard Judge, of Farriers Way, said the 22 street lights proposed were excessive and would cause light pollution.
Lighting should be positioned discretely and preferably at low level, he said.
Mr Judge welcomed proposed widening of the pavement on the west side near the Station pub.
“This narrow strip of pavement is dangerous for pedestrians and this danger will be increased if the sight-lines from the car park entry/exit are not improved.
“As this is an important safety feature, and there are likely to be lorries turning during construction, I would urge that a condition be made that construction of the car park cannot begin until the pavement is widened as shown on the plan,” he wrote.
Cost of parking
Stephen Green, of Farriers Way, did not object to the scheme but was worried that because parking elsewhere in the town was free, a pay car park at the station would not be used.
In a letter to Wealden council, Mr Green said: “I can see no incentive for anyone, already parking for free nearby, to use the proposed car park and start paying.
“The residential streets near the station already ‘suffer’ from commuters parking their vehicles, due to their easy proximity. By charging for parking I cannot see that this situation is going to change.
“I cannot see how charging for parking in the proposed car park will attract anyone away from free car parks nearby.” [See also our report from Uckfield Town Council plans committee, below]
Dedicated taxi rank
Wendy Tagg, of The Dene, said her main concerns were the traffic arrangements at the station entrance which becomes “chaotic” when peak-time evening trains arrive.
She also asked for a dedicated taxi rank.
Re-opening railway to the south
Others have written to Wealden to support the car park plan as long as it does not hamper any moves to reopen the railway line south towards Lewes and Brighton.
Simon Yapp, of Framfied Road, wrote to Wealden: “This is fantastic for the area and a much needed resource. We are very pleased you are leaving space for the railway to be extended to Lewes.”
David Mason on Eagle Close, Uckfield, said in his comment to Wealden that he hoped it was a precursor to electrification of the Uckfield to London line and in turn the extension of the line to Lewes and beyond.
“The car parking provided will be of great benefit to commuters and will free-up town-centre parking for shoppers and recreational use in Uckfield,” he said.
Uckfield Town Council Plans Committee
Members of Uckfield Town Council plans committee voted to support the planning application in principle.
They expressed concerns about the access, the planned lighting and pedestrians crossing the road between the station and the new car park.
Parking limits adjusted
Stephen Green, of Farriers Way, attended and expressed concerns that commuters would have to pay to use the car park while parking in the town remained free (see also above).
Cllr Paul Sparks said he understood the car park at the station was part of an overall review of parking which could adjust parking time limits on the Luxford Field car park.
On-street parking review
He said: “I also understand they are reviewing on-street parking in the vicinity of the railway station they may well introduce parking restrictions on the roads close to the station.”
Cllr John Carvey confirmed the county council would review parking around the station and promised he would work to try and ensure residents did not suffer and were unable to park near their homes.
*Wealden District Council will decide whether the planning application from Network Rail can go ahead or not. A decision is expected in May or June.
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