At last Uckfield townsfolk look set to have a say in the future shape of their town.
There will be a public meeting from 11am-3pm on Saturday, March 7 at the Civic Centre about the development of Uckfield. It aims to give people the chance to influence what will happen where.
Out of the debate arena are current and controversial schemes such as the 1,000 new homes at Ridgewood – a proposal already set in stone via Wealden’s local plan.
But this meeting is held by the Uckfield Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group, chaired by Richard Judge, which is looking well into the future. Its eventual recommendations, translated into a document which will be enshrined in planning law, will take the town through the next 20 years.
Saturday’s meeting will canvass people’s views on issues such as housing, infrastructure, social support, the environment and landscape, design, transport, routes, shopping and the local economy. Maps will be on show so everyone can point out buildings, roads and parks that are important to them.
Families are being welcomed and the committee has laid on a children’s area with relevant but fun activities such as pictures of town buildings to be coloured in and the chance to say what they like - or don’t like- about Uckfield.
The different options that emerge from the meeting will be shaped by the committee and then put to the public in the form of a referendum.
The Steering Group is made up of volunteers and members have already carried out a major review about where the town stands. A website has been set up and there are regular meetings, plus postings on social media.
Meanwhile concerns have arisen that land at Bird-in-Eye could come back on the agenda for potential future housing development.
Wealden District Council has asked Uckfield Town Council whether there is land around that could house a minimum of six dwllings and councillors have given the proposal the thumbs down. But Steering Group and town council member Cllr Paul Sparks said two Bird-in-Eye sites, refused on appeal on grounds that there is enough housing land in Wealden, could possibly be re-examined. A report from a town council working party indicated sites identified for members to consider keeping as green space or allowing some form of development. The areas under consideration include Hunters Way, Oaklea Way, Rocks Park flats, Bellbrook Open Space and Hempstead Fields.