New planning rules designed to protect the Ashdown Forest could have a significant impact on business in Uckfield, members of Uckfield Chamber of Commerce were told at a meeting on Thursday (May 24).

Commercial agent Chris Lawson, of Lawson Commercial, told about 100 members at the Halland Forge Hotel, that the policy adopted by Wealden Council meant there could be no development within seven kilometres of the forest unless it mitigated its own impact.

He said this was already causing people to re-think their plans. For example a picture framing manufacturer which wanted to move to The Old Dairy in Maresfield could not do so because it would lead to an increase in traffic movements to and from the site.

He added the same would apply if a business on the Bell Lane estate wanted to change the use of a building from a warehouse to a factory.

Mr Lawson said: “The impact, at least in the short term, will cost a lot of people a lot of money. People will have to reassess what they are doing.”

Lewes and Mid Sussex councils were also close to the Ashdown Forest but had not reacted in the same way as Wealden, said Mr Lawson. He wanted to see the rules changed.

He said the reason for the new rule was to protect the Dartford Warbler which was living in the forest and was “upset by car fumes”.

Uckfield Chamber invited to comment on roads options

Uckfield Chamber of Commerce has been invited to comment on East Sussex County Council options for improving the traffic flow in Uckfield.

President David Marshall, senior partner at Dawson Hart solicitors, said the county transport development control manager, Lawrence Stringer, met with members of the Chamber executive committee to explain the options.

Mr Marshall reported that proposals took account of the development of 400 to 450 homes already committed and 1,000 more contained in the core strategy.

Funds raised towards traffic improvements amounted to £4 million with £300,000 already in the bank. How quickly more money became available depended on how soon other development came on board.

Mr Marshall reported 773 visitors attended a three-day exhibition held by the county council and 572 questionnaires were returned completed. Most responses were in favour of better parking and traffic management rather than extra roads.

He added the Chamber would not want to see parking at the old station left out of any scheme implemented, would not want to see the character of the town destroyed and was not in favour of parking charges.

Chamber is victim of its own success

So many members of Uckfield Chamber of Commerce are attending bi-monthly meetings that the organisation made a small loss last year and is expected to do the same this year.

Treasurer Elaine Robinson said that the Chamber was a victim of its own success.

She said the cost of food was incorporated in the membership fee but expenses were increasing and options were being considered to deal with this.

She added: “What we don’t want to do is put anybody off coming along to future meetings as they are superb networking events.”

Businesses urged to enter Uckfield awards

Twenty-six companies have so far entered the Uckfield Business Awards and 126 nominations have been made by the public, Adrian Corbin, told Chamber of Commerce members. He urged more businesses to get involved.

The closing date for entries is September 7 and the awards ceremony is to take place on November 1, 2012.

Diamond jubilee events include picnic and parade

Diamond jubilee celebrations planned in Uckfield include a competition for children to spot diamonds in shop windows, a picnic organised by the Uckfield Lions Club on the Luxford Field on Sunday, June 3, and a parade from Elizabeth Gardens in the centre of town to the Victoria Pleasure Ground for an evening of entertainment on Monday, June 4.

The events were listed by Roy Thompson from Uckfield Rotary Club.

Mr Thompson said a jubilee beacon at the Victoria ground would be lit at 10.15pm on the Monday and would be followed by a firework display.

Marshals needed for Alternative Uckfield Torch Run

Marshals are needed to help with the Alternative Uckfield Torch Run being held to coincide with the official Olympic Torch Relay which by-passes Uckfield on Tuesday, July 17.

The torch run is being organised as part of the Uckfield Festival and seven schools will be taking part.

Dorothy Sparks, chairman of Uckfield Festival Association, appealed for help with marshalling the event and invited people to turn out on the day between 10.30 and 11.15am to cheer on the torch-bearers.

Mrs Sparks also said the festival would be launched on Friday, July 13, at the Highlands Inn with entertainment by Morris dancers and musicians and with a peal of bells ringing out across town.

Uckfield Festival’s Big Day Out

Mrs Sparks said the Festival’s Big Day Out is on Saturday, July 14, and children will parade through town with puppets made at school workshops.

The following weekend Uckfield Concert Brass would play the 1812 overture with people invited to take a picnic to the Luxford Field and enjoy the performance. Later on entertainment will revolve a giant sky dome which will light up with video projections, shadow puppets and dancers.

Raffle tickets are to be sold to help with funding the festival and Mrs Sparks appealed for prizes.

Talk by The Wine Teacher

David Timmons and his daughter Victoria, both from The Wine Teacher, gave a talk about their business as did new Chamber members from The Rotary Club of Uckfield; health insurance broker MI Expert, and human resources management consultants Timeless Time. Another new member is business consultancy Unleashing Dragons

Date for pension reform seminar

Jeremy Hallett, of financial consultants Horlock Holdcroft, invited Chamber members to a seminar they are organising about pension reform. It will be held at Uckfield Civic Centre on July 18 at 11am. (This date has changed from the one announced at the Chamber meeting).

Trampoline centre’s ten national competitors

Mike Jackson of Fun Abounds trampoline centre appealed for help with providing sports equipment for ten national competitors who would be taking part in a televised event over the weekend of July 7 and 8.

Halland Forge offers discount

Manny Bedi, said he had owned Halland Forge Hotel for seven years and was planning to grow the business. He added they had conference facilities and a meeting room for up to 40 people and offered a 10% discount for Chamber members.

Next Chamber meeting

The next meeting is due to be held on Thursday, July 26, at Barnsgate Manor, where there will be a barbecue.

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