A major improvement scheme for Uckfield High Street will include almost three times as much on-street parking space as originally planned, the project board has announced.
The second stage of the Uckfield town centre highway improvement scheme will feature 23 short-term spaces, compared to the eight spaces originally planned - although it will still be 20 less than before they started.
The changes, which are in response to public concerns and a town poll on the issue, mean that more than half of the existing High Street parking spaces will be retained.
The work is scheduled to begin in January, to avoid a clash with scheduled works elsewhere in the town by South East Water in the summer, and to minimise disruption during the busy Christmas period.
A range of options is now being considered to manage traffic during the work, which will affect High Street between Bell Lane and Church Street, and to minimise the impact on the town centre.
Cllr Claire Dowling is a member of the project board overseeing the scheme, made up of representatives of East Sussex County Council, Wealden District Council and Uckfield Town Council. She said: “The board has taken into account the strength of feeling in the town and believes the revised plans will balance the need to meet the demand for High Street parking while reducing congestion and improving the town centre for pedestrians and shoppers.
“There will be some disruption but the traffic management scheme put in place will allow us to complete the work as quickly as possible while allowing people to continue to access the town centre. We understand the concerns of traders and we will work with them to do whatever can be done to help them and to minimise the impact of the works.”
However, the Uckfield Chamber of Commerce remains concerned about the length of time the work will take and the impact it will have on local traders.
President Fiona Monson, said: “We have asked the East Sussex Project Board to look at whether there could not be significant savings in time and cost by using tarmac or another surface which would be quicker and easier to lay.”
The chamber has also asked the Project Board to consider funding a business rates holiday for retailers for the duration of the works to help mitigate the impact.
A public exhibition is being held at Uckfield Civic Centre on Friday, June 26 from 2pm to 8pm and Saturday, June 27 from 10am to 4pm. More information about the work is available to view online at www.eastsussex.gov.uk/uckfield.
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