New supermarket for Uckfield next to pub is approved

Plans to build a supermarket next to a pub in Uckfield have been given the go ahead by Wealden District Council.

On Thursday (May 19), an application from the Greene King pub chain and developers PH Land & Developments s to build a convenience store next to the Highlands Inn in Eastbourne Road was approved by the council’s planning committee south.

The proposals followed on from a similar application, which had been refused in 2015 due to concerns around its size, bulk and design. This decision was upheld by a planning inspector.

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Going into the debate, planning officers advised that the new proposal had overcome the previous reasons for refusal highlighted by the appeal process through a new design.

Proposed new supermarket for Uckfield

Ward councillor Gary Johnson (Con) asked the committee to put this out of their minds, however, arguing local changes since the previous scheme — particularly new housing developments — meant there was more going against the proposals than before.

He said: “This is a new application and I ask you to treat it as such. Think about what has changed in the last eight years in Uckfield.

“Consider the views of local residents, consider the traffic, consider the pollution, consider the parking, consider carefully what is going on in Uckfield currently and what is going to happen in the next few years.

“I think an out-of-town convenience store is a good idea, but I believe that this in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

Highlands Inn Pub

Cllr Johnson went on to highlight the concerns of objectors and Uckfield Town Council, including its potential impact on the local highway network and potential impact on neighbour amenity.

He also reiterated local fears that the new store would affect the viability of existing businesses within the town, particularly the nearby Ridgewood Post Office and Store.

While some were supportive of these arguments, the majority of the committee took a different view, finding in favour of the officer’s recommendation.

Following further debate, the application was approved on a majority vote.

While not part of the application, Greene King has previously said it intends to carry out improvement works to the pub garden should the convenience store plans be approved.