A MAJOR improvement scheme for Uckfield High Street will include almost three times as many on-street parking spaces as originally planned, the project board has announced.
The second stage of the Uckfield town centre highway improvement scheme will feature 23 short-term spaces, compared to the eight spaces originally planned.
The changes, which are in response to public concerns and a town poll on the issue, mean that more than half of the existing High Street parking spaces will be retained.
The work is scheduled to begin in January 2016, to avoid a clash with scheduled works elsewhere in the town by South East Water in the summer and to minimise disruption during the busy Christmas period.
A range of options is now being considered to manage traffic during the work, which will affect High Street between Bell Lane and Church Street, and to minimise the impact on the town centre.
Cllr Claire Dowling is a member of the project board overseeing the scheme, made up of representatives of East Sussex County Council, Wealden District Council and Uckfield Town Council.
She said: “The board has listened to people and taken into account the strength of feeling in the town and believes the revised plans will balance the need to meet the demand for High Street parking while reducing congestion and improving the town centre for pedestrians and shoppers.
“There will be some disruption but the traffic management scheme which is put in place will allow us to complete the work as quickly as possible while allowing people to continue to access the town centre.
“We totally understand the concerns of traders and we will be working with them to do whatever can be done to help them and to minimise the impact of the works.
“With 1,000 houses due to be built in Uckfield and the resultant increase in traffic, the county, district and town councils have to act now to ensure our town can cope in the future.”
The improvements will include wider footways with new, high quality paving, new benches, waste bins, cycle stands and street lights, new ‘smart’ traffic lights to monitor and control traffic, particularly at the critical junction of High Street and Bell Lane, and tree planting to help reduce flooding.
The board has already met with Uckfield Chamber of Commerce and Uckfield Town Council.
A public exhibition is being held at Uckfield Civic Centre on Friday, June 26 from 2pm to 8pm and Saturday, June 27 from 10am to 4pm.
More information is available online at www.eastsussex.gov.uk/uckfield and www.uckfieldtc.gov.uk or by emailing email@example.com