Uckfield residents hope new parking plans outlined in East Sussex County Council’s extensive programme to revitalise the town centre will not make life harder for shoppers and traders.
Proposals, currently under consideration, aim to remove parking spaces along the High Street, provide new disabled parking spaces and create dedicated loading bays.
It is also planned to provide an extra 106 parking spaces in the town as a result of the new car park planned for the old railway station.
Wealden District Council is also undertaking a review of car parking across the district and also changing a crossing and traffic signals in Uckfield.
Uckfield county councillor Claire Dowling said: “There’s a lot of talk in the press about draconian parking charges across Britain and I say to people.... ‘come to Uckfield’!
She explained all proposals must go out to further consultation so people will have the chance to express their opinions - as they did when the four schemes were shown to the town earlier this year.
She said: “The Network Rail long-stay car park scheme at the station is imminent. What is important is that people working in the town can park, as well as people wanting to shop.
“It’s hoped to provide several very short-stay spaces so visitors can pick up shopping; longer-stay spaces - say up to nine hours - for employees and other spaces for people wanting to spend some time in the High Street who at present find longer stay spaces occupied by commuters’ cars. We do not want to push people out onto the roads.”
A full review is currently underway and it might be necessary for changes to be phased in gradually, say step one, and step two, she agreed.
But Mel Sanders, from Forge Close, is one of the residents who fear things could get tougher for people wanting to shop.
He said: “Not that many went to the consultation so the outcome doesn’t represent the views of most residents. Most people do not want High Street parking done away with - I believe we are going to lose about 50 spaces?.
“You can guarantee the station parking won’t come on stream before we lose spaces so people will just go elsewhere. Commuters will have to pay at the station car park - lots won’t, so they’ll just leave their cars on the street.
“I live in a close with 12 houses and there are 27 cars, so how many vehicles will these 1,000 new homes deliver?
“I can’t see people walking or cycling all the way from the new estates. Uckfield will get gridlocked.”