Uckfield ringroad idea ‘kicked into the long grass’

Uckfield High Street
Uckfield High Street
  • Developer Welbeck Strategic Land is in discussions with county highways
  • No specific agreements, including potential contributions, have as yet been agreed

Rumours that the Bell Lane to Uckfield High Street link road could be back on the drawing board have been quashed by the council.

Townspeople contacted the Sussex Express to ask if it is true that developers had offered to contribute funds towards the southern link road.

This was the route first indicated in Option D of the Town Centre Redevelopment Plan consultation.

It would have headed from the Bell Lane roundabout close to Tesco, crossed the River Uck, swung over the former railway line (if this was re-opened,) skirted the new station car park and rejoined the High Street near the Framfield Road junction.

The rumours centred on the obscure wording of a planning document submitted as part of the developers’ application to build 1,000 new homes at Ridgewood Farm.

It read: ‘An improvement scheme has been put forward which would mitigate the impact of development generated traffic and provide measurable improvement to the operation of the (Bell Lane/Tesco) junction. The applicant would like to discuss with ESCC delivering or contributing towards the improvement as it is considered the scheme would cost-effectively limit the significant impacts of the development and is deliverable within the highway.”

But both county and Wealden planners and members refuted the suggestion, saying it stems from a misreading of the planning document and the link road - Option D - was turned down at initial consultation.

A county spokesman said he believed developers were simply referring to Stage Two of the town centre scheme - due to begin later this year - and are looking at minor improvements to Bell Lane.

County and Wealden councillor Roy Galley said: “The link proposal was one of four options considered two years ago but the majority view was people did not want a new road with the huge amount of disruption that would cause. That proposal was kicked into the very long grass. It would also cost a large amount of money running into many millions and be subject to Highways Agency approval and substantial additional funding. Uckfield did not choose that proposal, opting instead to create more parking spaces and develop station land.”

Cllr Galley confirmed the Ridgewood scheme will be before Wealden planners this June.

Other traffic schemes in the document include improvements to the A22/B2102 Copwood and A22/A26 Little Horsted roundabouts with longer two lane approaches.