Uckfield FM has applied for permission to broadcast to Crowborough via a relay transmitter to be installed in the town.
The community radio station has been granted consent by the regulator Ofcom to increase its coverage to include Crowborough, but order to achieve the increased coverage a low power FM repeater and associated antenna is required.
Currently the station broadcasts on 105 FM to Uckfield and the surrounding villages. The radio station can be heard anywhere via the Internet.
In 2019, the regulator Ofcom allowed the community radio station to increase the power of its transmitter (located on the radio station’s building in Uckfield) from 25W to 150W. This resulted in better coverage in the villages surrounding Uckfield; however the signal boost did not reach all of Crowborough, because of the local terrain and interference from other radio stations.
The community radio station have now submitted a planning application to install a low power antenna on the side of Crowborough Town Council’s building. The transmitter will be around 2m in length and the intention is that it will just clear the roofline.
Crowborough Town Council wrote a letter to Ofcom to support the application and has agreed to host the repeater station and antenna at Pine Grove. As Crowborough Town Council has a prejudicial interest it would not comment on the planning application, but at a meeting last September it said it would review its position once a decision had been made.
The planning statement states aerials and antenna can be installed on buildings under Permitted Development rights as long as they comply with certain size parameters. However the antenna proposed by Uckfield FM is larger than the 1.3m allowed, and therefore planning permission is required.
The necessary control equipment to relay the signal from the studio at Bird in Eye Farm, will be sited in an existing IT cupboard inside the Town Council building.
It is understood the frequency they have provisionally allocated for the relay transmitter is 94.7FM – but this is subject to certain clearances and approvals. The community radio station have been holding focus groups with stakeholders to consider re-branding, to ensure the station appeals to their new broadcast area.
Chairman of Uckfield Community Radio Limited, Ian Smith, said:
A date for commencement of broadcasts cannot be announced until due processes have been completed.Chairman Ian Smith
Last year Uckfield FM celebrated the 10th anniversary of broadcasting full-time. Initially the station took to the airwaves in the Summer of 2003 and broadcast for 4 weeks each year to coincide with the Uckfield Festival.
You can view the planning application on Wealden District Council’s website Planning Application (Ref: WD/2021/0089/F).