NEWHAVEN RESIDENTS TURN OUT IN FORCE AT LEWES ROAD REC DEVELOPMENT MEETING
July 31 2012.
More than 150 local Newhaven residents turned out in force to voice their opinion about the proposed Roundtable/Lewes Road Rec development tonight at the Lewes Road Hut, with people spilling out of both doors; all ready to voice their concerns about the effects a major development will bring to the town.
Local resident, School Teacher and Mum, Jo Pettitt, managed to bring together this extraordinary meeting of locals and parents - who's children regularly frequent the recreational land and play area - and got a massive turn-out and support from everyone seated, standing; and standing outside the doors.
Do we really want a water park, a hotel, a casino? What about regenerating the town centre first and foremost - as one resident sensibly suggested? And then - what about traffic; sustainability - were some of the questions posed.
The meeting was scheduled to include Lewes District Council's James Page - who the residents squarely blame for the sale of the land and whose actions made the pages of the latest Private Eye Magazine recently - but he didn't turn up! So he got a cacophony of "Boos" when this fact was announced....
It would appear that Cllr. Page got the day mixed up, although it was made clear to him in numerous emails and correspondence that the meeting was today.
There were a few heated kick-offs, but credit to Newhaven Town Councillors Steve Saunders and Julie Carr for firstly coming to the meeting and supporting their local constituency, answering questions, and revealing publicly what everyone has suspected all along: that this was a seemingly done-deal ages ago.
An interesting point from Cllr Carr was that LDC actually went against its own constitution (6.2) on the Lewes District Council website.
Talking to several Newhaven residents, it appears that some did not come to the meeting because they thought it was a "done-deal" already, and nothing they said would make any difference. So not apathy; they simply have a long and deep-rooted disrespect for LDC, it seems.
One Newhaven resident of 57 years said: "I was part of the Incinerator project more than ten years ago. It was a done-deal then and I suspect it's exactly the same this time round. They're all on back-handers, brown-paper envelopes and I don't think anything we say will make any difference."
So, is this just one small piece of the jigsaw - as many of Newhaven's residents and supporters think - and do you think that your voice will be heard?
The actions of LDC and the 'forgetful' Cllr. Page have already made national news and more is certain to follow...
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