Uckfield parking under spotlight

Uckfield High Street - L1304037
Uckfield High Street - L1304037

Parking arrangements in Uckfield are set to change. A scheme to create more short stay spaces is being worked out by the District Council with support from the town’s interest groups.

It aims to balance the needs of commuters and business people who must find space to park all day with those of shoppers and visitors.

The Uckfield Town Centre Steering Group has welcomed progress being made, particularly in view of the new station car park which should have a major impact on alleviating problems.

Steering Group chairman Cllr Mick Harker said: “Work has already begun on clearing the old station site, and Network Rail should submit an application for a new 150 space park shortly. This will accommodate a growing number of commuters using Uckfield station. But it is only part of the solution. The length of a longer stay in the existing town centre car park will need to be reduced and a review of on-street parking is required so there is no conflict between parking on offer to commuters and that available to local workers and visitors.”

The Uckfield scheme is part of Wealden’s strategy to review District-wide parking. Some aspects of parking will change and some - such as free parking and ‘decriminalising’ - will not.

To work out the best options for everyone, Wealden has consulted town and parish councils, community and voluntary groups, chambers of commerce, the Federation of Small Businesses and other district councils. They say Wealden is ‘almost unique’ in offering free parking close to its town centres but this is overwhelmingly backed by local firms who say it helps keep high streets alive.

They say there is a clear need, however, to make better use of available spaces, increasing throughput by changing the mix of short and long stay. Officers propose to re-write the 20-year-old current car park order with proposed new timings of ‘short stay’: two to three hours; ‘medium stay;’ six to 10 hours and ‘long stay’: 23 hours - all to be agreed with towns and parishes. In February, off-street parking layouts including Luxford Field and the new station car park will be reviewed and determined, with the final order approved by mid-summer.

As well as parking, public transport, promotion of cycling and walking and electric charging points will also be considered and further work done with police and councils to review parking restrictions and ensure they are enforced. Residents will also be encouraged to use environmentally friendly transport options.