Ridgewood Farm goes on display

Layout of the site of the Ridgewood Farm development, Uckfield
Layout of the site of the Ridgewood Farm development, Uckfield

Detailed proposals for how the Ridgewood Farm development of 1,000 homes west of Uckfield will take shape were on view at a public exhibition at the town’s Civic Centre last week.

Masterplanners John Thompson & Partners revealed their scheme devised on behalf of developers Welbeck Strategic Land.

There was a mixed response to the exhibition with many visitors saying it did not provide enough detailed information by way of property types and exact layout.

It was all contained on boards with panels alongside Luxfords Restaurant, rather than occupying a dedicated room.

Others complained that Welbeck Land or the designers should have been on hand to answer questions.

Town Mayor cllr Ian Smith said: “One or two people have told me they were disappointed with the amount of information on show. If the agents wish to win hearts and minds they will have to provide a little more than than. But I suggest people wait for about ten days when the outline planning application goes in and they might be able to add detail to the basics of the scheme. People want to see some of the wrinkles ironed out and find out what they are going to get alongside the houses.”

Wealden’s Core Strategy (adopted in February 2013) identified land between the town itself and the by-pass as suitable for a mixed-use ‘urban extension.’ It would contain about 1,000 new homes (including affordable,) a school, 12,650 square metres of business space, community facilities and possibly a local shop.

The way the town had grown from early settlement along the river to the present day was illustrated, together with ‘character studies’ of existing house types. The town’s history was also explained and full information can be found on the website: www.ridgewoodfarm.co.uk

An outline planning application should be submitted to Wealden District Council by the end of January.

Under ‘The Future’ developers wrote: “Although Uckfield no longer has a railway connection to the south coast it is possible that in the future the rail connection with Lewes may be reinstated’ giving hope to rail campaigners.

If all goes to plan, work could start on building within a year.

Wealden District Council held a consultation before the land was finally earmarked for building. They said most new growth should be in ‘sustainable extensions to existing market towns as opposed to new settlements in rural locations.”