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CAMPAIGNER DEMANDS ANSWERS FROM ESCC

November 7th, 2018.

Community Action Newhaven release:





Popular Seaford campaigner Geoff King is asking searching questions in an open letter to Keith Glazier, the Leader of East Sussex County Council.


Geoff was moved to respond after seeing national TV news reports of the dire financial state of East Sussex County Council finances, with cuts to Social Care, Schools, Road Repairs and Libraries.

He is asking the council to shelve ‘outdated’ plans for a £23 million flyover to Tide Mills Beach and to use the money that would be saved to fund essential public services.

Geoff asked Councillor Glazier: “How can East Sussex County Council justify the very dramatic cuts to public services whilst at the same time wasting many millions of pounds of public East Sussex County Council council tax payers money on a road and bridge that no one wants or needs. I ask you publicly to justify this position”

Geoff has been a campaigner for protection for the Tide Mills area for many years and his online petition against the new port access road has attracted over 4,000 signatures.

This is the full text of Geoff’s letter:

An Open Question to Cllr. Keith Glazier – Leader of East Sussex County Council – Regarding the Proposed East Sussex

County Council Cuts to Essential Public Services

Dear Cllr. Keith Glazier – Leader of East Sussex County Council,

I watched the main 6.00 pm BBC evening news on Monday 5th November 2018 with total horror.

East Sussex County Council made an announcement of very dramatic cuts to East Sussex County Council funded services such as Social Care, Schools, Road Repairs, Public Libraries and much more. These cuts in funding were apparently in response to the budget crisis that East Sussex County Council is facing. In a nutshell, we are told that there is no money and that East Sussex County Council is broke.

However, perhaps you, as leader of East Sussex County Council can explain to the council tax payers and people of East Sussex how it is that East Sussex County Council can justify spending £23M on a road and bridge to nowhere that will exclusively benefit a private commercial company and its clients with little or no benefit for the local community.

I refer to the Newhaven Port Access Road and Bridge that will exclusively benefit Newhaven Port and Properties and its client companies within Newhaven Harbour.

Rupert Clubb, Director of Communities, Economy and Transport and his team have repeatedly told me and others that the money that makes up the East Sussex County Council share of the cost of the road and bridge to nowhere, some £13M, is ring fenced and cannot be used for any other purpose.

I think the council tax payers and people of East Sussex would find that a very poor excuse as, with anyone’s expenditure, you may well set aside money for a particular project or purchase, but when economic conditions change for the worse, most people would re-evaluate what they may choose to spend that money on.

Perhaps you may care to explain to the council tax payers and people of East Sussex just why East Sussex County Council is sticking so rigidly to this ideology regarding this road and bridge to nowhere.

In the East Sussex County Council business case for the additional funds from central government for this road and bridge it was cited that this would open up land for employment potential. This rhetoric was repeated in the current public consultation document on the Lewes District Council Local Plan Part 2. However, the land in question, land on Tide Mills, and not on East Quay, Newhaven, as wrongly suggested in the Lewes District Council Local Plan Part 2, is actually a Local Wildlife Site and there is very considerable local opposition to any development proposals for that land.

Further to that, Newhaven Town Council, in their response in opposition to the Lewes District Council Local Plan Part 2, have objected very strongly to any suggestion of development on that land on Tide Mills and have identified that Newhaven does not require any more employment land. Newhaven Town Council has stated in their response to the Lewes District Council Local Plan Part 2 consultation that there is sufficient employment sites within the town for the next 20 to 30 years and that no new allocation of land is needed.

So the main plank of the East Sussex County Council business case for the road and bridge to nowhere is fundamentally flawed. This can be further demonstrated by the fact that no commercial or residential development has taken place anywhere along the already completed section of the Newhaven Port Access Road, even ASDA Supermarkets pulled out of building a proposed super store.

Would it not be far better, in these very constrained economic times, to shelve the outdated idea of this road and bridge, an idea that dates back to the original planning permission of 1996, when the local landscape and public opinion was as lot different and the South Downs National Park, which this road and bridge would border, did not exist.

Times have changed and East Sussex County Council needs to change with the changing times. This is an opportunity for East Sussex County Council to listen to the council tax payers and people of East Sussex and scrap the outdated rhetoric that this road and bridge are essential for the regeneration of Newhaven and to shelve the plan for the road and bridge and use the many millions of pounds of East Sussex County Council public money that would be saved to fund the essential public services that East Sussex County Council claim must be cut.

So I repeat my question to you, Cllr Keith Glazier, as Leader of East Sussex County Council, how can East Sussex County Council justify the very dramatic cuts to public services whilst at the same time wasting many millions of pounds of public East Sussex County Council council tax payers money on a road and bridge that no one wants or needs. I ask you publicly to justify this position.

Geoff King



Geoff King's petition is at https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/save-the-western-end-of-tide-mills-and-seaford-bay