Full steam ahead for Uckfield rail parking

Old station car park, Uckfield
Old station car park, Uckfield
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The Sussex Express has been told that the former Uckfield station site is definitely set to be bought by Network Rail.

After years of uncertainty, the way ahead has been signalled to turn the site into a car park.

A £50,000 Government website, Find Me some Government Space, funded by the Department for Education and the Cabinet Office, gives details of all Government land and property up for sale.

It is hoped the sites could help promote the free schools agenda, providing easy access to those on the lookout for ventures to set up their own state schools.

A search yielded information under the heading ‘former station site and goods yard’ described as ‘surplus land’ under the ownership of the British Railways Board (Residuary) totalling 1,920 hectares.

Views have been exchanged between campaigners for the opening of the Uckfield to Lewes rail link, County, District and Town council officers and councillors whether the BRBR would demand what was described last year as a ‘full market price’ of between £2-£3 million, or a much smaller sum.

The higher figure was quoted at a meeting between BML2 and BRBR when it was possible the site could be occupied by housing or commercial development.

But Government spokesman Greg Beecroft said the land was being sold to Network Rail and the market price would be well below that figure.

He said Wealden’s Core Strategy - the council’s blueprint for future development in the District - has been formally approved and did not include development on the site. It would have also proved unsuitable for building because of Environment Agency rulings.

Cllr Mick Harker, who chairs the Uckfield Town Centre Steering Group, stressed he and colleagues were working with County to provide transport solutions for the town that address both short and long term issues.

“An important one of these is station car parking.

He said: “We have a scheme worked out and agreed in principle with all parties taken to a meeting with the Transport Minister in December where he gave his support.

“The new Wealden Planning Policy doesn’t allow housebuilding in this area and the EA are adamant houses must not be built in the flood plain.”

He re-iterated the Transport Minister had ‘very positively’ said Network Rail is the preferred bidder.