Uckfield High Street gets plans go ahead

Uckfield revised scheme
Uckfield revised scheme

The next stage of Uckfield High Street’s improvement scheme has been given the go-ahead by East Sussex County Council.

Cllr Carl Maynard, lead member for transport and environment, approved plans for 23 parking spaces in the High Street – limited for 30 minutes.

He also agreed that up to two disabled spaces be included in the scheme after consulting the Wealden Disability Involvement Group. He said: “This scheme is vital if we are to maintain Uckfield as a vibrant and flourishing town. The town centre already suffers from congestion and with the additional development anticipated, this will only get worse if we sit back and do nothing.

“I have received a number of emails about the scheme prior to this meeting, and would like to assure residents that I have taken their views into account before making my decision. We can now push ahead and deliver real benefits to the people of Uckfield and the surrounding areas with a scheme that balances the future needs of businesses, visitors and residents.”

Cllr Maynard also approved plans to introduce a one-way system during building work - a measure to tackle potential traffic issues while work is carried out. Officers will carry out further work before finalising the arrangements for this.

Following a request from local member Cllr Claire Dowling, it was agreed a plan be put in place prior to the work starting which sets out how the community and businesses would be kept informed. The plan will cover communications for the duration of the work.

Speaking after Monday’s meeting, Cllr Dowling said: “I want to ensure that county highways and contractors work together to minimise disruption, and that the message goes out that Uckfield is open for business as usual. I am pleased that the lead member took my comments on board and has asked that communications be a key factor in the planning of this work.”

The second stage of the Town Centre Highway Improvement Scheme, affecting High Street between Bell Lane and Church Street, is due to begin in January 2016.

It will include pavement widening, new street furniture, ‘smart’ traffic lights and improvements to drainage.

The number of spaces will reduce from 43 at present. Plans to cut the number met furious opposition from traders who believe it will lead to shops closing. They cited other UK cities where on-street parking had been cut back and businesses suffered. In a referendum, more than 1,500 people voted against a reduction of street parking while 277 voted for the scheme.

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