The Wealden Local Plan plans growth and change (development) up to 2028. Below, I’ve summarised some items that are relevant to Uckfield. Beware that I am not an expert so, for reliable, complete policies and full sized maps, see the document itself. The Uckfield part runs from page 319 to 328. The Uckfield News has also circulated some information.
If the plan “is approved at Full Council, consultation on the Draft Proposed Submission for the Wealden Local Plan will run from 8 May to 19 June.”
The Issues and Options Consultation document was published at the end of 2015. Several people from Uckfield commented on that document. Now Wealden have chosen their preferred options and are presenting them in the Draft Proposed Submission document. People will be able to comment on whether it meets Legal requirements and tests of soundness.
Much of the extra housing development (approximately 4,000 dwellings) will be concentrated in the South Wealden Growth Area – i.e. around Hailsham, Polegate and Willingdon. Nearer to home, East Hoathly is expected to absorb an extra 230 dwellings.
I’ve put quotes from the plan in italics. The numbers on the left refer to the paragraph numbers in the document.
Uckfield – Housing
The plan says …
“25.12 In 2016 planning permission was granted for the provision of 1,000 dwellings at Ridgewood Farm with associated commercial and retail provision as well as infrastructure including a Suitable Alternative Natural Greenspace.” These SANGs are designed to give people a place to walk their dogs etc. away from Ashdown Forest.
“25.15 Within the Plan period the 1,000 dwellings and other development commitments will be built out and in accordance with the overall strategy, contained within the Plan, no further growth has been allocated. Having said this a development boundary has been identified for Uckfield” … which will allow for growth and change such as .. “provision of 1,450 sqm (net) of retail floorspace over the plan period.”
The development boundary is shown in the map below. Notice Ridgewood Farm (South East) sits inside it but Downlands (North East) sits outside.
Uckfield – Town
6.16 Within Wealden District there are currently 4 town centres including Uckfield. They are planning to promote Hailsham and Uckfield to “Main Town Centre”.
From Policy RUGA 22 …
“… 450 sqm convenience and 1400 sqm comparison retail floorspace provision will be required within Uckfield Town Centre within the Plan Period. The land identified as UHA on the proposals map can be used for the provision of this retail space together with other town centre uses as a part of comprehensive redevelopment. ”
As an aside, the TCR project, which was intended to make alterations in the area shown in lilac on the map has been put on hold due to lack of interest from major retailers.
25.21 They say that the town has a mix of multiple [chain] and independent retailers but would benefit from more “anchor stores and key high street retailers“. The preferred strategy is to consolidate its existing multiple and service offer, and build on the attraction and success of its independent and specialist offer.
25.24 It notes that Uckfield “retains just under 1/3 of shopping trips and retail expenditure within its catchment area; the highest retention rate in Wealden. ” It loses shoppers to Tunbridge Wells, Eastbourne and Brighton – it should establish its own identity rather than try and replicate these.
“25.27 Uckfield is a successful town. However, it could benefit from some regeneration of existing buildings and creation of a clear local focal point.”
What does this mean for the Neighbourhood Plan?
The Local provides both strategic and local policies.
- Strategic policies are those that apply to the whole of Wealden and/or affect large areas. For example: policies on Infrastructure, allocation of housing and retail space.
- Local polices are those that affect specific places. For example, where the allocated housing and retail should go, building design etc.
Neighbourhood Plans can identify local policies but must conform with Strategic Policies. Once adopted the Neighbourhood Plan sits alongside and may replace parts of the Wealden Local Plan when planning decisions are made.