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December 23 2011

Lewes District Council's Planning Committee is to consider investment plans for the Eastside site in Newhaven at a meeting, open to the public, on Wednesday 4th January 2012.

Avalon Newhaven LLP together with project partners ASDA and Barratt Homes have been working on plans for the site, located between Newhaven port and the nature reserve, for around three years. The project is set to include an ASDA supermarket with petrol station, 190 homes and 14 commercial units, and promises significant investment in Newhaven's infrastructure, as well as 400 new jobs for local people.

As part of the proposals, a multi-million pound investment is being made to deliver the first phase of the new port access road, an extension of the road currently running into The Drove Retail Park (beside Halfords) and a long time strategic infrastructure priority for the area. A package of supporting measures including direct investment in the town centre is also on offer.

A number of bodies have been consulted regarding the plans since they were initially registered in early June 2011, with their conclusions being published in a council report. Among representations submitted by various council departments and local authorities, 59 were received from members of the public, of which 54 expressed their approval of the development and welcomed the investment in Newhaven.

A spokesperson for Avalon Newhaven, said:

"We believe that the planning committee should listen to the views of the local community and give the project the go-ahead. We have had a huge level of public support, not least from all those who have contacted the Council directly to urge them to support us.

"Newhaven needs a boost and we want to deliver much needed investment as soon as possible. The sooner we can get on with bringing jobs and prosperity to Newhaven the better. There are two major developers ready to spend money in Newhaven."

In recent months however, it has become apparent that the Eastside site is not the only area of Newhaven with potential for development and the construction of a large supermarket. Sites at Railway Quay and The Drove have been identified as suitable, with plans for a Tesco store and a new port transport interchange at Railway Quay having been proposed earlier this month.

The council report also details other considerations to be made regarding the Eastside plan, in particular the impact on Newhaven town centre as a result of out -of-town development, the relatively small proportion of commercial property proposed for the site, and the question of the necessity of such a development in Newhaven at all, given that it is already served by three supermarkets.

Chris Martin, Senior Property Communications Manager for ASDA, said:

"Unlike other plans that have been talked about in Newhaven, ours can now be made reality by the Council. We will bring shopping choice and much needed jobs for local people at a time of rising unemployment. The Council can show that Newhaven matters."

The officer's report concludes by recommending that a decision on the plans be deferred until sometime between March and May 2012, so that other applications proposing similar projects can be compared like for like. However, Eastside project partners warn that other potential projects in the area are some way from being ready and have large problems to overcome.

Rob Philips, Planning Manager at Barratt Homes, said:

"It is now up to the Council to do the right thing by Newhaven and give it the project it wants and needs. The local community recognised the benefits of our plans a long time ago and the kick-start to regeneration in the area it would bring.

"The Council can make these plans a reality".

The planning meeting takes place on Wednesday 4th January 2012 at 5pm in The Council Chamber, County Hall, St Annes Crescent, Lewes. This is an open meeting, where members of the public will be given the opportunity to speak on the issue of the application, as long as they register their interest to do so by 12 noon on the day before the meeting.
For the meeting agenda and a full report on the Eastside regeneration plans, go to:  

What do you think? Should the council approve these long awaited plans to improve Newhaven, or should they hold fire and consider other projects? Tell us by emailing