Go-ahead given for 1,000 homes near Uckfield

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The controversial plan to build 1,000 new homes on Ridgewood Farm, west of Uckfield, has been given the go-ahead.

Wealden District Council has granted consent for proposals to build the homes, up to a two-form entry primary school, shops, community and health centres, business park and leisure facilities on part of the 111.98 hectares of land between the western edge of Uckfield, the A22, the back of properties along New Town and the Lewes Road. The northern edge follows the line of the former railway line between Uckfield and Lewes.

Part of the site reserved as a suitable alternative natural greenspace is on the west of the A22 connected to the main site by a cattle underpass – an extension which concerns Isfield residents.

In documents produced for the council, developers Welbeck Land, together with architectural practices; climate change, renewable energy and business experts quote Wealden’s Core Strategy – the council’s blueprint for where homes and businesses can be built. The masterplan itself is led by London-based John Thompson and Partners. They point out the site will be connected to the town centre by safe and convenient pedestrian and cycle routes. It will also be served by buses connected to the town and beyond. There will be up to 1,000 new homes, a 500 sq m convenience foodstore, restaurant and/or cafe and pub.

When the scheme first appeared in Wealden’s blueprint for the area, many residents said they had not been informed and raised extensive objections in terms of wildlife habitat, access from onto already busy roads, inadequate sewage and drainage facilities and the final obliteration of a tract of countryside.

But they were told there had been extensive consultation, conducted by way of questionnaires and public Q&A sessions. Now that outline planning permission has been secured, the westward urbanisation of Uckfield is set in stone and it is unlikely major changes will be made. The documents explain principles of the scheme’s various components but as yet full details such as house styles are not forthcoming. Find the plan and documents associated with it on Wealden District Council’s planning website. Search for WD/2015/0209/MEA.

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