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January 9 2012.

As you might have seen, I proposed that we should accept the offer on the table rather than wait for some nebulous plans to come forward. Unfortunately, nobody followed my lead.

There is an argument which says that Newhaven has been subject to too many foolhardy decisions in the past and, certainly, the officers at LDC are aware of this. They are, perhaps, being over cautious in wanting the "correct" decision for Newhaven this time. Of course, as you point out, ASDA may simply say "we haven't got the time to wait for LDC to faff about, we're withdrawing from this plan." This was the concern of Councillor Jones, (Con - Ditchling), and while he was supporting the decision to defer, he was also trying to encourage the developers to stay with the decision until April, when officers reckon they will have more information on the other proposals and we should have a clearer idea of what is proposed. It's a high risk strategy, but as he says, if the developers are confident of the proposal, then they should be equally confident when its up against others.

It does give time for the other proposals to be firmed up and rounded out. At the moment, the Cross-Stone application, (for the Parker Pen site), has a supermarket plan, but as yet no operator willing to take on the shop if it's built. The Arrowcroft plan for a Tesco on the quayside is possibly a little speculative too. I understand that Tesco hasn't definitively backed the idea, (not that they've ruled it out either). These proposals certainly need meat on the bone if they are going to be serious contenders. It may be, come April, that these proposals still don't have solid backing and if that is the case I shall be again urging my Planning Committee collegues to accept the ASDA plan. Still, to be fair, we should perhaps give the others a chance to show that their proposals are a better solution for Newhaven.

Cllr Rod Main