Concerns raised at a drop-in session last Friday have prompted the board behind Uckfield’s major improvement scheme to look again at its second stage.
The Uckfield Town Centre Highway Improvement Scheme board has moved to reassure residents and local businesses after concerns about the impact of the scheme were raised at the meeting, dubbed ‘lively’ by visitors.
Traffic problems resulting from roadworks hit the headlines last week and were featured on BBC South Today’s news roundup.
This first stage – which will see pavement widening, new street lights and traffic lights – is due to finish next month with the second stage scheduled to begin in the spring.
Everyone involved with implementing the scheme is urging people to support local businesses and they say traffic problems have now eased so access to town shops is once again straightforward and relatively traffic-free.
Cllr Claire Dowling represents Uckfield on East Sussex County Council and sits on the project board, made up of representatives of the county council, Uckfield Town Council and Wealden District Council.
She said: “It was always the board’s intention to look again at the second phase of the project once the first stage was complete and the concerns raised about traffic and the impact on trade reinforce how important it is we do that.
“We totally understand people’s concern and the various options will be discussed with local businesses before deciding on what traffic management measures are needed ahead of stage two.”
The first stage affects the southern end of High Street while the second stage will affect the area of High Street between Bell Lane and Church Street. Advertisements in local media will be launched later this week aimed at encouraging people to continue to use the town centre.
Cllr Ian Smith, mayor of Uckfield, said: “I am worried that there is a perception that Uckfield is not open for business. This is most definitely not the case. All the car parking spaces are available and all the shops are open. There is easy access at most times with some traffic disruption at the end of the working day only.”
Roy Chatfield, owner of jewellers A Chatfield and Son told the Express: “Numbers of people visiting the shop were right down. Together with fellow traders, I’m concerned about cutbacks to on-street parking. Some local customers are elderly and can’t walk from the car park. I fear some shops won’t survive but I am pleased to hear people are being urged to come to the town.”