Plan to build 1,000 homes in Uckfield causes concerns

HOUSEHOLDERS have reacted with shock and surprise after seeing what a plan to build up to 1,000 new homes south west of Uckfield will mean in reality.

Resident Mel Sanders said: “Uckfield has not got the infrastructure to cope. The town has reached saturation point.”

He also believed that the meeting had not been well publicised and not enough people knew about it.

The Civic Centre exhibition was organised by Wealden District Council as the next stage in its core strategy consultation.

This process aimed to identify land that would be acceptable for development and eliminate land that would not.

It was a response to a Government ruling that councils should free up areas for new homes.

Wealden’s assistant planning manager, Marina Brigginshaw said: “It is vital that people get involved now and let us know their views. We hope we will receive comments about where homes should and should not go.”

The scheme also included options for business, education and community use.

Display boards showed where houses would be built on a tract of land between Lewes Road, the former Lewes to Uckfield railway track and from the Victoria Ground almost up to the by-pass. The site first came to public notice in 2010 when Wealden identified it as having the best potential of any in the area to absorb a substantial number of new homes.

Mel Sanders, who attended the meeting, went on: “The main entrance to this development will be on the narrow single lane A22 by-pass where a roundabout will be built between Little Horsted and Bellbrook roundabouts – a known flood area. Can you imagine maybe an extra 1,500-plus vehicles a day using the by-pass and many coming into the centre of Uckfield? At the moment Uckfield has about 380 public parking spaces plus short-term parking at Tesco and Waitrose with the new developments still being built on the Eastbourne and Lewes roads. Where will all the extra traffic entering the town go? Maybe park and ride.”

And he is concerned that although many of the new homes might be affordable, local young people might not get first choice and outsiders might move in. Louis Schaff from Manor Park added: “I know people have got to be housed somewhere, but do we really want one huge estate, some distance from local transport and the town centre? Surely it would be better to dot new homes around the town.”

There is also a potential housing site for Heathfield to the rear of the police People are advised there is still time to express their views on both proposed schemes at town and parish council offices, public buildings and libraries until the consultation closes on Friday, February 24.