Radical plans to reduce traffic congestion and make visiting Uckfield more pleasant for shoppers have been unveiled by East Sussex County Council.
More than 500 people visited the Civic Centre last weekend to view detailed plans and give their views on the pros and cons of schemes on the table.
Council officials were buttonholed by residents anxious to express their concerns.
Most were worried about the impact extra housing is going to have on traffic and town amenities. But generally speaking the proposals were well received.
ESCC staff explained that people can tell them what they think via an online survey form or by post. Forms must be with the council by April 26 and responses will be considered to help plan the future of the town centre. Once all has been agreed, work should start on the first phase later this year or early next.
There are three areas where major changes can be expected. The council is working with Network Rail to build a car park opposite the station.
Once the land has been acquired Network Rail will operate the new long-stay car park and provide parking for about 139 vehicles. Build cost is about £450,000 .
Bus passengers can anticipate a better experience when they wait at the bus station. A covered central canopy and improved arrangements for waiting will be installed.
Real time bus and train information will be provided and more road crossing points – costing £100,000.
Under the heading ‘ensuring a vibrant town centre’ proposals were put forward to improve pedestrian access to shops and businesses as well as improve traffic flow and enhance the High Street. These include a crossing at the Church Street junction and upgrade to town centre traffic signals. Bus stops will be re-sited and passengers given more information.
Two existing pedestrian crossings will be replaced with one improved crossing in the middle of the High Street. Street lighting will be improved, there should be more bike stands, seating and trees and unnecessary signs and barriers could be removed.
To make space and speed traffic, High Street parking spaces will be removed but more disabled parking and dedicated loading bays provided.
There will be 106 extra car parking spaces in the town as a result of the proposed station car park. Wealden District Council is undertaking a review of parking across the District which should include the amount available and how long people can park for in Uckfield. About £2.2 million has been allocated for the work.