Uckfield asks: “Why don’t they listen to us?”

Cllr Paul Sparks near Uckfield housing development land
Cllr Paul Sparks near Uckfield housing development land

‘The future is being left to look after itself’ - that’s the view of an Uckfield Town councillor who slams planners and developers for a lack of foresight needed to deliver 1,000 new homes.

Cllr Paul Meakin was speaking at Monday’s Uckfield Town Council committee where members agreed not to back approval of outline planning for the scheme.

Although it’s too late for radical changes, councillors and more than 50 residents made it clear they felt their views were being steamrollered and nothing they could do would make any difference.

Main fears were for the impact of cars from the 750 homes which will access the A22 by-pass.

Cllr Paul Sparks said: “We know from when the High Street improvements were done the by-pass cannot take additional traffic.”

Although he thought play areas, use of solar energy and the 300-plus jobs resulting from the employment space were well thought out, he’s concerned 35 percent of affordable homes could be watered down because of the cost implications of the 73-acre alternative natural green space to offset the Ashdown Forest 7km ruling.

He said: “Access to the car park space would be down Horsted Pond Lane which is totally unacceptable.”

At the end of the meeting he thanked people for their input and said it helped inform the committee.

Cllr Meakin’s comments referred to the plan’s lack of secondary education or medical provision. He also felt using access from the Victoria Pleasure Ground into Forge Rise was unrealistic.

Ridgewood resident Mel Sanders asked: “This is all very well but will they listen to the people of Uckfield?

“In 2009 the county council told us the by-pass was operating to its full capacity. Then a further 300 homes were built and last year we had chaos with the eight week High Street closure. How is the by-pass going to cope with 1,500 to 2,000 extra cars coming out of this new estate? Is County saying the by-pass can now absorb it? This is the main route from the M25 to the south coast and we have another slip road opening out onto it.

“Who has thought through the impact on traffic, policing, doctors, fire service - all are running down and the town is getting bigger.”

Samantha Holman, from Forge Rise, was concerned about plans for paths and cycleways to the development across Victoria Pleasure Ground and feared for children’s safety.