News that plans have been drawn up to provide about 50 car parking spaces on a derelict yard near Uckfield railway station was welcomed by the town’s Chamber of Commerce at a meeting on Thursday night (November 25).
President Peter Gale reported that East Sussex County Council had drawn up proposals showing ways in and out of the potential car park and Network Rail and Southern Railway were discussing implementation.
In addition the county council said the potential future developer of the site had agreed temporary spaces could be replicated when the development was built.
Mr Gale, a partner at accountants Swindells and Gentry, said he was heartened by the news.
Back in September he told Chamber members the situation regarding the yard was “totally unacceptable” when there was parking congestion elsewhere in town because of the lack of any substantial parking provision to support the increasingly popular rail service.
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.”
There was widespread publicity following his comments and the Chamber has been pressing for action since then.
Mr Gale said he was pleased to report positive news but added. “We will keep up the pressure and see whether we can achieve the result the town needs.”
Mr Gale went on to tell members about a change of procedure in dealing with illegal occupation of land by travellers.
He said a transit camp had opened at Southerham and the police were able to use existing powers to move travellers from sites in Wealden to that camp.
Anybody who would like to learn more should contact Trudi McGuigan at East Sussex County Council on 01273 481344.
Mr Gale also told members about a planning application for a five-pitch travellers’ caravan site at Mockbeggars Farm, London Road, Uckfield.
The application, number WD/2010/2053, could be found on the Wealden Council website, he said.
Ninety-four business people attended the meeting at the Cinque Ports Club and one new member was welcomed, Val Frost of Eagle Research, a market research consultancy.
Speakers included Kathryn Colas who runs a website, simplyhormones.com, which aims to improve knowledge of the menopause.
She asked businesses to encourage staff to use the website and build free advice contained there into staff welfare programmes. “It’s a cost effective route to improved health,” she said.
Sue Edwards, of Virtual Assistant Sussex, told the meeting about a book she has published using extracts from a diary written by her mother, Daphne Dangerfield, when she was a member of the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force.
The book covers 15 months of service in 1942 and 1943. A launch party is due to be held at The Hop Barn on Friday, December 10, between 7-9pm and signed copies will be available there.
Sue Willmott of SpecSavers said the opticians would be open during the town’s late night shopping event, on December 10, offering appointments and a workshop where people could bring in glasses for repair. There would be no charge but people would be encouraged to make a donation towards a fund to buy a Guide Dog for the Blind.
Georgia Abbott, of St Wilfrid’s Hospice, invited Chamber members to a Lights of Life service at Uckfield Community Hospital on December 9 at 6pm.
The service will be held next to a Siberian Spruce, donated by the Chamber of Commerce, and lights will be switched on during the ceremony. The ‘Lights of Life’ will remain on over Christmas in memory of lost loved ones.
Mark Arno, of Carvills, spoke about plans for late night shopping in town on December 10.
Mulled wine would be offered at various places, there would be a Winter Wonderland in Grange Road and a hog roast, provided by Bishops butchers, at a site near Carvills.
He added there would be snow outside Carvills and at least one other shop and if anybody else was interested in generating snow they should speak to him. “It would be nice to have snow throughout the High Street on the 10th,” he said.
Sue Funnell, stewardess at the Cinque Ports Club, which hosted the event, talked about the private members club and said it had more than 2,000 members.
A dedicated committee organised functions throughout the year including a Christmas party for senior members and one for children which were free of charge to members.
The Chamber of Commerce Christmas dinner is to be held on December 9 at Barnsgate Manor between Uckfield and Crowborough.
A visit to the Houses of Parliament, to include lunch with Wealden MP Charles Hendry, is being planned for March 7, 2011. People who are interested in going along are asked to contact Chamber secretary Ian Blackaller.
The next meeting of the Chamber is due to be held on Wednesday, January 26 at Pilgrim Hall Conference Centre, Easons Green.