Uckfield to Heathfield bus service renewed

Dave Cashmore, Barry Marlowe, Cllr Ian Smith,  Charles Hendry MP and Russell Stepe. By Ron Hill
Dave Cashmore, Barry Marlowe, Cllr Ian Smith, Charles Hendry MP and Russell Stepe. By Ron Hill

Heathfield and Uckfield are to remain connected by bus, thanks to a new service launched this week.

Concerns were raised by people living in both towns after operator Renown announced they would cease operating the 318 service which runs from Uckfield via Framfield, Blackboys, Heathfield, Burwash and Etchingham to Hurst Green.

The company’s 355 service from Heathfield via Rushlake Green and Brightling to Battle is also scheduled to stop.

East Sussex County Council announced that the services would stop earlier this autumn but hoped replacement services would be in place by the end of the year.

They have now announced that the No 31 service, operated by the Sussex Bus Company, will be extended to Heathfield. It currently operates between Haywards Heath, Chailey, Newick and Uckfield but will be extended to reach Heathfield via Framfield from December 28.

Russel Stepe, Sussex Bus boss, said the service will give more opportunities for people living between Heathfield and Uckfield to get to the Princess Royal Hospital, the Central Sussex College in Haywards Heath and provide a vital regular link to Uckfield Community Hospital in Framfield Road.

The bus will travel via Framfield Road, through Framfield, Blackboys and on to Heathfield High Street.

Wealden MP Charles Hendry has welcomed the new service and congratulated everyone involved in getting it running so there will be no break in the Uckfield to Heathfield service. It will also, he points out, benefit people living in villages between Uckfield and Heathfield and provide a valuable and integrated form of transport.

Departure times on the 31 service begin from Cuckfield at 7.27am and subsequently at 50 minutes past each hour from Haywards Heath although the service does begin at Bolnore village earlier.

The journey time to Uckfield takes about one hour 15 minutes. Coming the other way the first service to leave Uckfield starts at 7.30 then at 45 minutes past each hour with last buses leaving either destination at 6.30pm or 6.45pm.

Charles Hendry MP and town mayor Cllr Ian Smith attended the launch of the new service with Barry Marlowe, chairman of the Wealden Bus Alliance, Russell Stepe and Dave Cashmore, supervisor for the SussexBus.com