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Update - August 14 2012.

Bright and early on the day after the residents' meeting at the Lewes Road Hut, where the Roundtable development was discussed, the mail started - and continues two weeks down the line...


Having been involved in recreation areas in other areas of the country, can I ask if Sport England is involved - they should be at the loss of recreation land - and how much will they be asking from the developer as payment for this loss?

A similar sized plot raised £48,000 which went to community projects!

Anne Yaman


Sour Grapes - I think not!

The accusations posted under the 'Sour Grapes' heading, suggesting the Lib. Dems were stirring up angst against the Conservative administration are way off the mark. I defended Cllr. Page at the meeting, telling those present that I did not think that he was one to run from confrontation and was willing to remain open-minded over his absence, although questioned why any of his Cabinet colleagues or relevant officers couldn't have come instead. I was also open about the fact that it was under our administration in 2010 and through the Labour government's policies, that the Strong Leader Model was adopted, but doubted whether we would have been so belligerent as to make a decision of this magnitude, without consulting with the local residents.
The Focus that was issued at the time, was stating the facts: The District Council, (under the Tories), sold the recreation ground and adjacent land, that had been the subject of several feasibility studies to be developed into a larger and more usable area for recreation and play. It also talked about the lack of consultation of local residents in the decision-making process and the similar lack of time for responses. All of this was reviewed by the Scrutiny Committee, where they noted that, with hindsight, procedures need to be reviewed and consultation with Councillors and residents alike should be improved.

My colleagues, Cllrs Julie Carr, Rod Main and Carla Butler, have questioned other issues surrounding notification to Ward Members, pre-determination of the decision ahead of receipt of responses and equality. These are all on-going and will hopefully call to account the circumstances surrounding the sale, which still angers the majority of local people and Councillors (on both sides).
Sue Bratchie is correct that the town is made up of more than 12000 residents and the 150 or so that turned out for the meeting are not a true representation of that fact, but Cllr. Page is a Telscombe resident and his lead officer on this decision, lives in London. Neither of them have much, if any idea of the affection and importance of this land to the people of Newhaven. There does not seem to be any grasp of the lack of recreational facilities in the town by LDC and this was not taken into account when making the decision.

Whilst I understand that at first glance, the developers' carrot looks gold-plated, and indeed it may turn out to be, I am concerned that this is a decision that should have been made by local people, once they had all the facts. LDC and the developers have not endeared themselves to Newhaven in any way. The decision has been made over public land for purely business reasons and with no consideration for the views of the electorate, by elected members from different towns.

I did not become a Councillor for political ambition. Like most, I wanted to work for my community. I hope people think that is what I and my colleagues do in Newhaven, but I'm sure they will let us know if we're not.

Steve Saunders 



£84K for a plot of land the size of Denton Island with planning consent to build a hotel...

Sounds a little fishy to me. Is there anything to stop them selling it again at a more realistic price. e.g. millions and someone pocketing the big profit?

Ian Mitchell


If this man can't even manage his own diary so he can attend a meeting, it's a worry that he seems to have the power to make decisions,( without any consultation), that may have devastating implications for our poor, ravaged, once lovely, little town.

I think the people of Newhaven have suffered enough at the hands of so called 'leaders' who over the years have promised us that the decisions they make on our behalf will make it better for the residents. But we have lost all our lovely old buildings, our town centre is empty, our port is crumbling and dead, our beautiful sandy beach is barricaded off.

Now there is talk of the Fort going, Grays School, Railway Road Infants School, (another lovely old building), no doubt set to be demolished, and now Lewes Road Rec has been snatched away from us and sold for an insultingly low price. This shows that LDC has a total disregard of the value this land had for the well-being and enjoyment of Newhaven residents, especially at a time when the government is promoting the benefits of sports and outdoor activities.
Would this have happened in Lewes or the more affluent parts of our district? I think not.

Once again Newhaven has been kicked in the teeth, smacked around the back of the head and told to shut up winging. Apparently we should be grateful that this wonderful decision that has been made on our behalf by someone who can't even work out what day of the week it is!

Watch this space for the next nail in the coffin for Newhaven. 

A Newhaven Resident


I am a comparative newcomer to Newhaven and am well aware of its historic past. But the past has been largely wrecked by the one way system and now there is a need for a rescue package. BUT any such plans for the future need to be openly discussed - so that residents are not confronted with a fait accompli by a commercial conglomerate whose self interests are paramount.

I had a completely opposite reaction to the Hut meeting from that expressed by Sue Bratchie. It was extremely well controlled. None of the points raised were hysterical or an expression of NIMBYISM.

There is a real reason to fear the underhand and, even worse, behaviour by the Lewes Council. It is essential that we are on our guard.

Shirley Harrison 


It was a good thing Cllr Page did not come to the meeting, it was a lynch mob of upset and hysterical residents making all sorts of irrational claims, like back handers and 'done deal's, also fired up by the Lib Dem Rag 'Focus' which was hoped for political gain in stirring up even more angst and the Council, what have they done to improve Newhaven all the time they have been in power, how many years. Possibly 'sour grapes' that they never found an Investor and hopefully to sabotage Newhavens chances of becoming a prosperous Sea Side Town with Tourist attraction's, improved infrastructure and place where our businesses can prosper, Pubs, food outlets, Estate Agents, and people wanting to bring their Yachts here potentially to! We can't change the past, but we can build a future. Don't look a gift horse in the mouth !

Don't forget there are 12000 residents in Newhaven, some, as I said at the meeting like me, delighted that Newhaven has at long last bagged an Investment Package that should seriously transform our Town, hopefully bringing Tourists and Jobs, we are a Seaside Port Town that should have a direct link to London via Train, non of this has happened while we are in this depressed and run down state. We are a wonderful Town (not village) nestling at the foot of the Sussex Downs, with plenty of walks around about and a new nature reserve between Newhaven and Seaford.

We need to be rejoicing at this opportunity and looking forward to seeing the full detail of these plans before we jump to conclusions.

I couldn't put my hand up at the meeting to vote for the Hotel being built on the REC as any reasoned person does not vote for something without seeing the full planning application, however if it was for the greater good of Newhaven, I would vote for it, bring it on!

In anticipation and hoping for good things...

Su Bratchie
a Newhaven Valley Resident


This is yet another example of people outside of Newhaven deciding what they want with impunity.

Isn't it time for the fantastic people of Newhaven to say enough is enough.

Let us decide what happens to our town!

Gary Middleton


Thought 1:
You're a developer with big ideas and deep pockets and you have big plans for Newhaven. At some point you are going to want support from local residents for your project. How stupid would it be to do something to get a large portion of them off-side right from the start? Like say, only revealing a small part of your plan which involves purchasing a recreation ground from a local authority and doing so in great haste.

Thought 2:
You are a local authority wanting to regenerate one of the more depressed areas of your authority's area and you are offered mega money by a developer to do so. Surely you would take the greatest care in negotiations to make sure that the developers plans were fully formed and discuss with them the best way to go forward, so that the public - your electorate - are informed at the earliest opportunity of the full facts; thereby allowing them to see the full picture? Comments could then be taken on board and the plans adjusted to take in local viewpoints. Surely you wouldn't jeopardise the whole thing by rushing the first small part? Particularly as a recreation ground sale was bound to be met with a hostile reaction if that was all that was on the table.

Thought 3:
How stupid would you have to be to get this wrong? (Answers on the back of a tenner to the usual address).

Cllr Rod Main


The way this affair has been handled so far has rightly caused a deep mistrust of the actions of Lewes District Council.

A potential regeneration of Newhaven should not be dismissed. HOWEVER it should include the situation of the town centre which is an island marooned by the ring road and dying as a result. The addition of a waterpark does not guarantee that people will visit the town, as opposed to the attraction itself.

If the promised 350 million pound investment incoporates this problem and addresses the traffic issue, and provided that the ongoing process is an open one with full public consultation and openess from LDC, compared to the current slow drip-feed of information we are experiencing, then we should look at this in a positive manner. But I feel it is a very tall order to fulfill and tick all the boxes.

Bill Sholl


The shifty dealings of the LDC leader, Cllr. Page, and his refusal to explain himself to Newhaven residents should not simply be left. This is precisely why we have the Freedom of Information Act. Newhaven Town Council, or if they don't have the cohones, a posse of local residents, should immediately issue an FOI request to the LDC Chief Executive and Cllr. Page, asking for all information relating to meetings, (on and off record, private and public), discussions, emails and agreements regarding this disgraceful process to be made public. If they fail to comply, they should be reported to the police.

On another issue, at the planning meeting to discuss the 'battle of the supermarkets', much was made of the likely effect on traffic on the town centre ring road. Am I being stupid here, or will a water park, casino and hotel not have an even bigger traffic effect? Does this mean that all future development - after this one - will therefore be prohibited, because the traffic capacity will have been used up?

And here is a thought: If a water park and casino are such a brilliant idea, why not build it in Lewes which has a bigger population to support it?



I believe that the Waterpark in Newhaven would be an indoor one.

What sort of footprint would that put on the landscape, how high would this have to be; and what affect would this further-carbuncle on the Newhaven landscape have to nearby residents views and quality of life?

Also, where would people park if they came? Any ideas?

Meeching Road