Parents fear kids in danger from Uckfield new homes site

New development near Mallard Drive, Uckfield.
New development near Mallard Drive, Uckfield.

Parents and residents are desperately worried that a major housing scheme could pose dangers to children.

Detailed plans have now been revealed for a 113 homes development on land between Mallard Drive and Uckfield Community Hospital in Framfield Road.

Plans show the way in to the nine acre site is directly off Mallard Drive, close to the entrance to Harlands Primary School. Wealden planners confirm this is the only access. People living nearby say the road is heavily congested and there will not be space for heavy lorries to squeeze between tightly packed cars.

Carol Baker, from Eagle Close, said: “We’re all desperately worried. People are thinking of moving out. I don’t know whether Wealden is aware of our concerns.

“I doubt anyone from the council has been down here to see what chaos this will cause. Already you can’t drive any vehicle larger than a car down these roads when parents arrive to drop off or pick up children.

“I suggest people put their views forward to planners before the detailed scheme is discussed on April 11.”

Developers Miller Homes (Southern) and Heron Land Development say their vision is to create a new ‘integrated and sustainable neighbourhood set within an attractive environment that responds to the local character and landscape setting.’

But Carol, formerly a bank executive who now runs her own coaching business, said: “Most parents I’ve spoken to were unaware of the scheme.

“I first opened files on this development in 2005. I really believe this part of the town has been unfairly targeted for massive growth with the proposed development south west of the town and the new Charles Church estate.”

Outline planning consent was granted in 2008 and the original scheme was for 146 homes. But even with the cutback residents point out schools are full, medical services stretched, traffic at a standstill and sewage and water runoff facilities inadequate.

To obtain permission, developers had to agree to mitigate the impact of the scheme by providing a wildlife pond, trees, footpaths and public open space.

They also had to agree to a roof tax which would tie them into paying money towards town improvements such as public transport, extra community facilities, new primary school and sports and leisure opportunities.

The detailed proposal shows a mix of properties including apartments and big detached houses. The estate stretches to Uckfield Hospital’s boundary.

Carol said: “I visited a friend there recently and found out the buildings closest to the site will be three storey apartment blocks, so any views patients had would have had will be wiped out.”

The developers said they are working closely with the district and county council to ensure the development is designed to high standards. Both companies take health and safety very seriously and will take the necessary steps to ensure it does not impact upon the nearby school.