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May 15 2012

With a little over a week to the announcement of the winning scheme to regenerate the Eastside of Newhaven, East Sussex County Council has formally objected to the Arrowcroft plans for Railway Quay on highways grounds. The County Council has found significant fault with Arrowcroft's suggested approach to accessing the site and the implications its plans would have on safety and congestion in the area.

Avalon Newhaven LLP, ASDA and Barratt Homes also commissioned an independent assessment of the Arrowcroft road plans and this has been submitted to both East Sussex and Lewes District Councils.

This assessment found that:

• Arrowcroft has not submitted a Transport Assessment with its plans. Instead the company is relying on just a statement, which is highly unusual for a project of this scale, and means that a lot of detail is lacking;

• The figures given in the statement do not match where the shoppers would come from as set out on the application's Retail Impact Assessment; and

• There is no 'before and after' assessment of the traffic impacts, so no comparisons can be made.

Despite the potential issues with the railway crossing, it has been suggested that Network Rail has not been shown a Transport Assessment, or given the reassurances it wants on the safe operation of the railway crossing.

A spokesperson for Avalon said: "We worked very hard in securing the approval of East Sussex County Council, and others, for our roads plans. As a result of this work by us all, our plans mean that the roads will operate better than if nothing was done and congestion problems will ease.

"A key issue that has come up time and time again from the local community has been the issue of traffic and congestion. That is why we wanted to do something about it.

"By delivering the first phase of the Port Access Road we help to get traffic, especially HGVs, off of the main road. This means that other development opportunities become possible in other parts of Newhaven.

"Again it has been shown that there is only one development that can be delivered and will help Newhaven both now and in the future - Avalon, ASDA and Barratt Homes at Eastside."

Rob Philips, Planning Manager at Barratt Homes said: "The roads plans for Arrowcroft simply do not work, as the independent assessment shows. By working with the County Council we have been able to match our funding of the first phase of the Port Access Road with the funding of the second phase to deliver the complete project. Something that has been championed locally for many years.

"We would not be surprised to see formal objections to the Arrowcroft plans from the Highways Agency and Network Rail."

Chris Martin, Senior Property Communications Manager, ASDA said: "The Arrowcroft project has roads issues that cannot easily be overcome. It took us around two years to agree a highways solution that works for our site and for Newhaven.

"Arrowcroft is around a year, a £10 million investment and the required safety audits away from a potential solution. It is not even close to getting a solution that works for the site."

Arrowcroft will be taking this latest report and various comments seriously, but it is a big-time player well versed in the cut and thrust of major planning and development projects, and Haven News expects an Arrowcroft announcement in the near future.