Uckfield Chamber of Commerce has added its voice to a campaign to get British Rail to allow commuters to park in a derelict yard near the station.
President Peter Gale told a meeting of the Chamber on Thursday night (September 16) the situation regarding the yard was “totally unacceptable”.
He said: “It is ridiculous that a public body, effectively the rump of British Rail who owns the yard, fails to be prepared to find a solution to why this area cannot be utilised to provide a parking facility to our commuters.”
Mr Gale, a partner at accountants Swindells and Gentry, said the Chamber continued to be concerned about Bell Lane, and the Bellbrook road system generally, becoming a substitute station car park:
“Quite apart from the difficulties this is causing to the businesses based on the estate in terms of ease of access to their premises, and particularly HGV access, there is a significant road safety issue. Inconsiderate and unsafe parking near the junctions is a major issue.”
Mr Gale said the police did not seem to be able to act in any material way to improve the situation.
A letter from the Chamber has been sent to the director of highways and environment at East Sussex County Council, Rupert Clubb, with copies to deputy leader of Wealden Council and Uckfield councillor Claire Dowling and to Uckfield Town Council clerk Ashley Serpis.
Another matter of concern to the Chamber was flash flooding which hit traders at the beginning of August and this too was being raised with appropriate authorities, said Mr Gale.
A weakness in the town’s drainage system may have contributed to the problem and there was a need for the flood prevention effort in Uckfield to include a review of the drainage system and its maintenance, he added.
About 60 members attended the meeting which was held at the Wealden Skills Centre and six new businesses were accepted into the organisation.
They were: Marketing Mentor, East Hoathly; Ward Mackenzie, Crowborough; Nightingales Care Home, Newick; Diane Whyman Recruitment, Crowborough; Wealden Citizen?s Advice, Uckfield, and Blockbusters Contracts, Glynde.
Speakers during the evening included Phil Edwards director of Weald Business Solutions, who talked about his project to build the UK’s fastest electric drag-racing bike, and Paul Wilson, manager of the Freedom Leisure centre in Uckfield who talked about how the leisure centre could help local businesses.
Chief executive of Raystede Centre for Animal Welfare at Ringmer told members about “huge” expansion plans.
Already £1 million had been invested in a new building and 14 other projects were in the pipeline.
Lin Lucas, manager at the Wealden Skills Centre, talked about work of the centre with, this year, 300 students from five colleges in East Sussex and how business courses run at the centre help fund its work.
Sheila Charlesworth of the Uckfield Volunteer and Information Bureau said Christmas Cards for Good Causes would be on sale at the bureau from October 18. About 35 charities would benefit from money raised.
Taurie Linstead of Chilli Peppers Cafe and Bistro, Uckfield High Street said she was launching a takeaway, with delivery service, on October 1.
Chrissy Wells, of South Brockwells Farm, at Little Horstead, often known as the Asparagus Farm, said oven ready game was now on sale at the shop on Fridays and Saturdays.
The next meeting of the Chamber is due to take place at the Cinque Ports Club, Uckfield, on November 25.
The Christmas dinner has been arranged for December 9 at Barnsgate Manor, between Uckfield and Crowborough.
Late night shopping in Uckfield will be on December 10.