Uckfield residents enjoyed a busy weekend with colourful entertainment provided in the town on Saturday and an ‘everyone welcome’ fun run in Isfield the following day.
The ‘Uckfield is Open’ team laid on jollity for all as residents packed the town for a busy Saturday shopping excursion. Jimmy the Juggling Jester kept children amused while shopkeepers and helpers donned their purple T-shirts and blew up balloons for children. The aim was to back the town’s traders during the roadworks which precede the introduction of Uckfield’s smart new image later this year.
Wider pavements, a piazza and avenue of trees should make the High Street more attractive to look at as well as more accessible for shoppers. Also included in the scheme are traffic lights that can adapt to the number of vehicles passing at any one time and the removal of what are deemed unnecessary signs and disused street furniture.
There will be improved bus stops with shelters and seats as well as real-time bus information. A 20mph speed limit is being introduced to the High Street and Church Street and pedestrian crossings will be improved. As well as better street lighting, new equipment like bins and benches will be installed to improve the overall environment. The improvements are being designed to make the town centre more accessible and comfortable for everyone, improve traffic flow and make sure public transport is easier to access.
It’s being undertaken to ensure the town and its facilities are ready to cope with the influx of people and vehicles anticipated once the 1,000 new homes are built at Ridgewood Farm to the southwest of the town. This will result in increased pressure on roads and transport infrastructure so roof taxes to a total of about £3.5 million - contributed by housing developers - are being used to fund the changes. It is also hoped the changes will help deliver economic growth and new jobs to the town.
Anyone with any energy left after shopping took part in the famous Little Horsted Family Fun Run on Sunday, which attracted more participants than ever before who enjoyed the balmy weather and dry ground underfoot. There were distances for all abilities and levels of fitness. A one kilometre run was essentially for chlldren, although it was also open to anyone new to running and not yet able to tackle longer distances. Running alongside their athletic offspring were several parents and even the occasional dog - although one got tired halfway round and had to be carried for the rest of the route. The five and ten kilometre runs were aimed at more serious runners. All covered relatively flat terrain through fields and woods in Barcombe and Isfield.
Races started at 10am, all paths were well marked and there were water stations en route - vital as the early Spring heat built up through the day. Volunteer marshals also lined the route helping runners stick to the correct paths and ensure no-one encountered any physical problems on what proved to be the hottest day of the year so far.
Funds raised by the Fun Run will help pay for new science equipment for Little Horsted Primary School and the Run itself was sponsored by the East Sussex National Resort. The Resort has already helped the event financially but also agreed to provide prizes to the first, second and third placed runners in men’s and women’s races for both five and ten kilometre runs and a special prize for the one kilometre race.
The races started from the cricket pavilion at Isfield Recreation Ground pavilion which also hosted the medals presentation. All runners received a medal for taking part, although one spokesman said organisers were so overwhelmed with extra entries - including some on the day - that there were hardly enough medals struck for everyone who took part.
Families and friends who turned up to watch enjoyed ample supplies of refreshments including cakes, sausages and burgers - also available to hungry runners at the end of the race.
The one kilometre run was won by Billy Evans, nine from Ringmer. The five kilometre run was won by Ian Thwaites from Tunbridge Wells and the 10 kilometre reace was won by Jasper Baker, 15 from Isfield. Jasper won the five kilometre race last year.
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