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November 2 2011

Newhaven Town Council Official release:

80+ Local Residents attend Town Council meeting to express their views

The Full Council at Newhaven Town Council met on 1st November 2011 where over 80 local residents attended and a petition passed to the Council objecting to proposed Gypsy/Traveller sites in Newhaven, as set out in the District Council's new framework document.

The high turnout was welcomed by the Town Council and the usual format of the meeting was relaxed to allow for as many comments from the public as possible to be noted and included in the Town Council's response to the District.

The petition contained over 1000 signatures from local residents and business leaders, opposed to the proposed Gypsy/Traveller sites in Newhaven. The Town Council accepted this and offered to make two additional copies to pass on to Lewes District Council and East Sussex County Council at their upcoming meetings.

Comments from the public ranged from road safety and suitability of the locations, to the ability of public services to cope.

The Town Council stated its position as a consultee and not the planning authority, which will be responsible for making the final decision.

The Leader of Newhaven Town Council, Cllr. Judith Ost issued a statement summing up the position of the Town Council:

Thank you for bringing this petition to us.

As you will appreciate none of the land that has been identified is in our ownership, it is divided between the District and County Councils and we are not the decision making authority.

I don't think any of us would see Denton Depot as a suitable place to live whether in a conventional house or a caravan. There have been too many accidents and deaths on that stretch of road to make it safe for people, especially families with children, to come and go.

What is very clear to us is that any proposals for Lewes Road that involve anything other than retaining the existing recreation ground, and hopefully improving it, for local children, young people and others will not meet with out support. It is the only roughly flat play space serving the Valley area of the town. It is overlooked and therefore people and particularly parents, children and young people feel relatively safe using it.

The old landfill site has long been allocated as a site for more sports pitches and we know that we are short of these across the town. The allocation will be needed even more if we get the growth in housing that is anticipated. We don't need to have the allocation taken away from us. We have made this view clear to both the other councils on a number of occasions.

This is not a rich and fortunate community. We have nothing like the allocation of sports and recreation spaces that other more affluent areas take for granted and they are not as well developed. Many of our children do not get whisked off by car to expensive out of school activities, they spend their leisure time close to home and the park developing on the landfill site is well used by local people for fresh air and exercise. Sacrificing the needs of one less fortunate community for those of another is not the way forward.

The Leader of Newhaven Town Council added that the "Town Council is committed to developing facilities in the Town for children and young people.

Newhaven has too few safe recreation, sports and play areas that occupy a flat area of land and are in an area that young people feel safe in. The Town Council is committed to preserving areas that remain, such as Lewes Road Recreation Ground and developing them as part of its commitment to providing facilities for children and young people."

The Chair, Cllr. Steve Saunders thanked the members of the public for their comments and assured them of their support as their elected representatives. They would ensure that their concerns, along with those of the Town Council would form the basis of their response to the consultation document. He also urged residents to respond directly to the process by writing to the District Council or emailing to  by the closing date of 11th November 2011.