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Updated November 6 2012.

The proposed Newhaven Waterpark 'Soft Launch' is running today and tomorrow at the Hillcrest Centre in Newhaven. Haven News visited at around 4.00pm today.

In the main hall we were greeted by a bewildering and seemingly unplanned layout of inflatable igloos, which we assume were meant to represent some sort of 'dome' idea of the proposed waterpark structure. We weren't greeted by anyone from the developers who wanted to discuss, well, anything...

There were a number of tables with encapsulated pages of various illustrations and photographs of 'Waterparks of the World' and maybe a dozen pop-up information boards carrying mission statements and profiles of various partners involved in the proposed development. No provisional plans, designs, costings or layouts, of any kind that we could see and no information to take away for the busy drop-by visitor.

In the ten minutes we were there, no one from the developer appeared willing to come forward and discuss the project when, as you can judge by the photograph, it was hardly packed out.

All in all, not the level of presentation we would expect from a company proposing a claimed 350 million pound development. On this showing they are certainly going to have to improve their presentation and communication skills if they wish to be taken seriously.
Other opinions and mail below...


I've been biding my time on adding anything to this but I would like to point out to "Change is Good" that not everyone who uses that area are "old peeps" walking dogs - at 45 I do not put myself in that bracket just yet! Yes I use the dump to walk my dog several times a week, as well as other parts of the town. The reason I walk there is that it is peaceful and away from the roads, and is a great place to appreciate what we actually do have in Newhaven at the moment!

As far as the Newts are concerned, they are a protected species because their habitats are being destroyed by developers! Yes thousands of pounds have been spent on moving them so that a new supermarket and homes can be built! The viewing area was built so that people could watch the birds on the Nature Reserve not the newts.

I agree change is good, but let's be careful what we wish for - if you think the waterpark is going to be a magic wand and make everything rosy personally I think it won't. There may be promise of discounts for entry for residents but how long will that promise last?

I have no objection to something being done in Newhaven but I do object to the size of the building and the location. Hopefully KEH/RTE will listen to some of the ideas and maybe scale down their ambitious plans.

Hopefully we can all make better decisions about whether we want this or not once the plans are available - let's be patient!

Lesley Boniface


In response to Cllr Steve Saunders'  email and I quote him...

'We all await with eager anticipation which of the several masterplans the developers are working on will come forward, so that we can properly consider whether we are for or against the scheme, rather than rely on the relentless promotion of its benefits by Conservative Members who are keen to win over voters ahead of elections.

Let's put a stop to shameless political ambition and concentrate on sensibly analyzing the pro's and con's, so as to make the right decision and if Newhaven decides it should be a yes, then make sure it is developed in the best way possible for the Town and the District. ' unquote...

I never mentioned politics, but as he now has, this is my response..
I repeat, as Steve Saunders has many times declared, that the previous administration that he was a part of and in 'power' would not have moved fast and secured this offer and opportunity for our Town over other deprived Towns as' we' are called, without 'proper consultation with the Residents! in simple language what he means is, if the previous Lib Dem administration he is so proud of had been in power we from Newhaven would not have been given this opportunity, with the endless Talk Shops and Prevarication he is suggesting, it would 'not' have been secured for us to be arguing about the Pros and Cons of this idea. That is NOT Choice. Why would that be a good idea? It was deemed that nothing illegal or improper had taken place by the LDC Scrutiny committee that the Lib Dems Chair, he should be reassuring his Valley Residents people of that much.

I am very fortunate that I am NOT a Lewes District Councillor', so I can have a proper voice. I am not neutered and I don't have to stay neutral because I am not talking as a Politician. As a resident Newhaven is to important to me for that. however, because I have been a LDC Councillor I understand a bit about' long winded procedure' and how long it takes to make a wheel turn, as he and Cllr. David Rogers do. You know that in the planning process and following vote on the Planning Application there will be ample time for residents to make there voice heard, yet you continue the 'spin' that things were done 'wrong' That is not helpful and is now OLD NEWS- lets look to the future planning process as you say. Why couldn't you have encouraged resident to wait for the Master Plan, as you state above, before the panic and negative opinion was encouraged in the Valley area. That is what

This Opportunity is much to important for 'political posturing' of which you are experts, and love to name everything 'Conservative' that seems bad. If you had delivered this opportunity I would have supported YOU, I don't care who gave us the opportunity, it is above politics but about a Town and Tourism all all that comes with it, I am just pleased that LDC moved fast to secure the OFFER, for that is all that it is. Now even the Recreation Ground has a chance of being properly maintained and maybe even the flooding sorted out! Newhaven is desperate and it is wrong that that a Port Town should be in this situation of decline.

Well, if this 'is' the idea and Investment that transforms the Town and brings true prosperity and a change of its current image (after so many years of decline whilst the previous administration were in power) we know who to blame because you said it !

In my personal opinion - just the Residents of Newhaven' having the say is not a reasonable and balanced view to take, this has far reaching effect for Sussex and local Towns, bringing proposed new road infrastructure from the A27 and A 26 which will relieve the A259 Coast Road. Whoe else is putting temn million into this? What about the Children of Newhaven? its their future! what about the School's who have been offered discounted use of the facilities, the Scuba Club? and other Businesses who have invested in this area? in fact what about the owners of the Port who are struggling to maintain a link to France (that's obvious) the extra footfall would help them continue with regeneration of the Port, possibly if they make some money or get re-energised they can invest in the required works needed to re open the beach, and what about the other major developers who would welcome the improvements to Ferry, Train and walkways/cycleways to Lewes. Don't they have a say?, how on earth would you do a decent referendum truly taking the views of all those it will affect? As I say this is a once in a life time opportunity for this Town, and I will keep saying it.

Su Bratchie



just look at the comment bet there from the old peeps, That walk there dogs along the dumping ground, And please don't tell me think of the birds!! just look at the waste of money that was spent on the newt a NEWT anyone even seen one! or gone down to the viewing place built for the NEWT!! WHAT A POO IDEA SAVE THE NEWT! HOW ABOUT SAVE NEWHAVEN BRING IN JOBS
This WATERPARK is great for newhaven great for our children and would change newhaven for ever think of the positives, JOBS yipee and of course somewhere great to go at last... CHANGE IS GOOD

Lee Winchester


People keep referring to the site of the proposed water park development as 'the old tip'. But it has been a 'nature reserve' for some time now, complete with paths constructed, trees planted and many water birds visiting the wetland areas. Not to mention the beautiful river bank between Newhaven and Piddinghoe . It is a lovely semi-wild area that is enjoyed as such by many people. I know we live near the national park boundary which is green open space and I know there is a wildlife area by Sainsburys. All of these places are valuable and have there own character.
If we get into the mind-set of building over green spaces for commercial gain is anywhere safe?

I'm fed up of people putting this town down. We need positive thinking. Some people talk about this town as if it's rubbish but it's not. We should be choosing to build on the derelict areas of Newhaven, not leaving them to rot and building on green spaces.

Personally, I may have given the water park idea - along with it's noise and light pollution - a cautious welcome, even though my home backs onto the proposed site, if this was a brown- field site such as a run down industrial estate site, but this is not the case.

It is what we are losing that worries me. Once this beautiful open space is over commercialised and lost, both for ourselves and future generations, we will never get it back.

There are more appropriate sites in Newhaven for redevelopment. The water park isn't the only option on the table at the moment. Newhaven does need some T.L.C. We all know that. If we say no to the water park more appropriate development will come. Developers are starting to see the potential in Newhaven.

Everyone with an opinion on this needs to express their view.

Mary Meadows


I'm very sad to see so many negative comments from people in Newhaven opposed to the new waterpark plans.

We have been requesting investment in Newhaven for many many years and now that it is going to come about there are people who are turning their backs on it without even taking into consideration all of the positive aspects of what this could do to our dead town. Face it, what has Newhaven got to offer anyone? A run down military fort, a run down harbour, A dead town centre with only a few shops remaining and a ring road which circumvents it.
This water park will bring in some serious investment to our back-end town, everything will be updated to accommodate it, They won't leave the existing road infrastructure as it is, why would they?

If anyone is interested in the future of this town which many call the "a-hole of Britain" then support these plans, support your town, help provide jobs for your children, and thank the people who wish to build it here.

Robert Robbins



I liked the idea of a Fairy tale analogy from Sue. How about another:

What big plans you've got......... All the better to tempt you with.
What a lot of money you've got...... All the better to impress you with.
What powerful political friends you've made..... All the better to try and influence public opinion.

We now have Cllr. Blackman suggesting that he can sort out the West Beach in the Argus yesterday, through the advent of the Waterpark. His own political ambitions are fueled by the wave of support lavished on the scheme by the Tory administration at LDC, despite not knowing what the actual feelings of the residents of Newhaven and the surrounding towns and villages, most affected by the plans are. Should they not be careful to stay impartial before this comes to the Planning Committee for consideration next year?
I was pleased to see a more balanced article in the Sussex Express today, showing the true divisions of public opinion in the town at the moment. I am also pleased to see that consultation is taking place as promised by the developers, although the methodology for canvassing opinion at the soft launch was, in my opinion, poor; with loaded questions and insufficient options to give considered and realistic answers. The boxes containing different coloured raffle tickets seem to be far more evenly filled than the 90% in favour that was suggested, although even I placed my ticket in the 'Yes' box, noting my agreement that the launch was useful in raising awareness and beginning a much needed, albeit delayed consultation with those who matter.
It was disappointing to many that no detail on plans or site for the development was available and I look forward to this information being available. When the true scale is unveiled and the mitigation of congestion and noise are offered, we may see public opinion galvanised one way or the other.
We all await with eager anticipation which of the several masterplans the developers are working on will come forward, so that we can properly consider whether we are for or against the scheme, rather than rely on the relentless promotion of its benefits by Conservative Members who are keen to win over voters ahead of elections.
Let's put a stop to shameless political ambition and concentrate on sensibly analysing the pro's and con's, so as to make the right decision and if Newhaven decides it should be a yes, then make sure it is developed in the best way possible for the Town and the District.

Steve Saunders 


I disagree with the somewhat negative view that Haven News has given the Waterpark launch at the Hillcrest.

We went on Wednesday afternoon and spoke to a number of KEH representatives including the European Director, Dominic Howson. We were shown via an ipad where the proposed site was and expressed our concerns which were answered and I have to say I went away feeling quite positive. They have stated that there will be continued access along the riverbank with possible landscaping and improved footpaths/cycleways. They even mentioned the possibility of dedicated dog walking areas in addition to the current paths and are looking into the possibility of a newhaven-lewes cycle path, improving the railway station and better access to the park from the station. There was also the possibility of obtaining their energy directly from the incinerator.

YES, it could be a load of old flannel but at least they are listening and taking on views plus you have the Democratic society overseeing.

KEH were also surprised at the initial lack of communication from LDC i.e. LDC cocked it up and as a result generated more negativity.

Initially I was dead against the idea of a hotel at the rec, but knowing what I do now with waterpark and all I am veering towards the positive side.

Those who complain that the views of the area will be ruined need to realise that the view is already ruined by a giant Silver Slug. What other investment would be available if we gave this the push? Has there been any activity to encourage major investment in the town? The town centre is a joke and there is little area for expansion even if you did address the problem of the ring road so perhaps it should be relocated.
My current feeling is that if we reject this outright not only will the town possibly get a reputation as being uncooperative but will also possibly deter future investment (if any). Do we vegetate and let the town die or do we at least talk to the main players albeit with an open mind? your choice..

Bill Sholl


I went along to the 'soft launch' on Tuesday evening and found the visit useful. As expected, the display boards revealed little about KEH's plans for Newhaven but Dominic Howson (Project Manager) did at least confirm that the Lewes Road site is definitely where they intend to build their proposed Water Park and hotel. He also said that they are seeking land for additional attractions very close by as well as intending to build a link road from the A26 to the C7. Information is what we need and this at least was something.

My opinion is still that the proposed location is inappropriate for a development of this scale and nature. Construction traffic alone would bring the already congested C7 to a standstill and I was far from satisfied with Dominic's assurance that impact on the C7 would be minimised because "the water park will be signposted from the A26". I also think that KEH's timescale is unrealistic given the enormity of its proposals.

These are my views at this stage based on the level of concrete information offered so far. Opinion, of course, is divided and for many the jury's still very much out. The discussion is alive in the town and on-line though and that has to be a good thing. I think that Su's reduction of this debate to "happy face vs. sad face" or "pessimist vs. optimist" is unhelpful. I share Su's passion and love for this town and envisaging a future for it which embraces more sympathetic regeneration initiatives such as UTC, Rampion and Arrowcroft instead of an imposing water park complex does not make me or others who might agree with me 'negative'. Anyone engaging in this debate surely cares about the town.

The big question for me at this point is how can we all be confident that our views, now or in the future, are really heard? The implications of this proposal are huge for Newhaven and its residents and I strongly believe that, if and when plans are finally on the table, a referendum is the fairest and most inclusive way that LDC can ultimately deliver on the promise to 'let the people of Newhaven decide'. Councillors may work hard and have good intentions, but they are fallible. The Chief Executive of LDC admitted at the public meeting on 18th October that 'mistakes were made' regarding the sale of the Lewes Road Rec site. We cannot risk a mistake being made on our behalf again, especially on a decision of this magnitude. Let the people of Newhaven decide.

Jo Pettitt.


Well now, did any body watch the T/V on Tuesday, i believe they discribed Newhaven as the Benifits Town of the South Coast.
I came to Newhaven 14 years ago and have over £6,000,000 invested in this Town believing this was the Town to Invest in for the Future, believing that one Day it would be a Place to be Proud off, But it would appear that from some of the comments i read and hear, that all we hear is no change and to stay in the past, and let the World go by,
Wake up, and let us look to the Future, and look for a Newhaven to be Proud off,

Ken Cox


At the Hillcrest Centre 'Soft Launch', I raised the question that a Sporting Venue would present a better opportunity for Newhaven, especially in the wake of London 2012. The answer I got from both Round Table and a Conservative Councillor was, I quote... "A sports venue would not make sufficient money".

I could not get an answer to my next question, which was: 'How is it then that the Wave Leisure Centre in Seaford is so well used and is thriving so well?'

I then opened up a discussion about the 'Water Park' consuming a massive amount of energy... a dwindling resource on a global scale and at a time when streetlights are being switched off around Newhaven to conserve energy. The same Conservative Councillor said, and again I quote; "The future in energy resources is through Nuclear Power".

I leave these thoughts with all you good people.

Despairing Valley Ward Resident


I spent a lot longer than ten minutes at this Exhibition? sounds like your mind was already made up, not open to possible prospects for a future generation.

I sought some people out to go through all discussion points and ideas and got a lot out of it- and returning today for more talk on shaping and bringing ideas to the project and Round Table Entertainments to help put some 'flesh' on the concept and discuss the ideas they already have.

This is the best (and only) project of this size ever to come to Newhaven, let alone the 'South East',yes, even Nationally, what an offer! This will change the Face of Newhaven for ever, AND the way people talk about our Town, have you read some of the comments about our Town lately? Shame on us as a Port Town and a Gateway to Europe ! how embarrassing it is to come in from France on the Ferry after visiting Dieppe.

My thoughts for the Town had always been an Olympic Size Pool or Ice Rink, obviously I wasn't thinking big enough!

350 million? in a 'recession ?'

It will, in time, make us a Commuter Town with improved Rail and Ferry links to follow as a result of increased footfall and National and European Attention, as befits a Gateway to Europe Town. after all that is what we are, not a little industrial Town or introverted Village

After many years of empty promises this new administration at Lewes District Council, along with the new Chief Executive who is focusing on Newhaven moved fast to secure this opportunity for our Town- I for one am thanking them for their drive and enthusiasm to promote and re build Newhaven's Image Nationally, not just locally. Is it to 'big thinking' for some? Do some people like to just complain about a Town or do they want action? To change the Image and Face of our Town from a bleak depressed Industrial one to a Happy Tourist Attraction one ! Every Cloud has a silver lining and between Eastbourne and Brighton (who have loved to offload responsibility for anything involving waste and have dumped it on Peacehaven and Newhaven) we have been the Cinderella sister, BUT no more.....

Cinderella is about to go the Ball , not a dead cert yet I might add as although this seems a 'no-brainer' for a Dead Sad Town, there is plenty of opposition who appear to live in a different Town to me when they describe it. BUT on the Happy Face side there is 'plenty' of us wanting to jump in with the project and have a New Newhaven, no longer will we be known as a Dumping Ground, But a Tourist attraction, with people coming in from France and from the UK ,everywhere, to our local businesses, and B & B's and Hotels, buying our new houses, using the Ferry and the Train Station and helping others who are already trying to get projects to take off to do just that, and attracting new investors and businesses for our empty warehouses etc, fill them up ! That's without the fact that people will want to buy houses here, live here, go to Church here and the more people will drive the changes we want in the Town Center, changing it's sad face and Image to a HAPPY ONE

I would rather be Optimistic and proved wrong, than Pessimistic and proved right- if the pessimists lose this 350 million Investment from Round Table Entertainments for us, well I'm sure they won't lose much sleep ! But I would if I hadn't done everything I could to engage with and promote this wonderful opportunity, be warned, it surely wont come by twice, with its offer of Jobs and a Happy Face !

This is the 'huge driver' for the change we need for future generations, and hopefully change we will, - CHANGE, bring it on.....

I thought that the Consultation was a 'soft launch' not a 'hard sell', they never gave that impression, why should they spend huge amounts of money until they get some positive Public Feedback on the 'General Idea'

It was a 'soft launch' just to give a bit of information and engage loosely, there is nothing more concrete till January to discuss anyway, its normal practice for things to develop within a Company until there is flesh on the Bones and more to show!

As I said , It wasn't mean to be a 'information' to take away event, that is not what a 'soft launch is' just an informal event not meant to crowd people and 'jump' on them. They even had the Yes or No people there, some Democratic thing which was not about selling the idea, but getting feedback on it.

For myself I certainly got more info from the information on the boards in the bubbles and have spent time looking up there previous projects in Kuwait and the other theme Parcs already in this country.

It certainly is the way of the future and very exciting for this Town, as you know, if public opinion is not big thinking enough and negative we will not have it here, that would, although it would please some, affect Newhaven for generations to come, we will still be a byword in despised sad Towns- I love it, but our national image is a disgrace.

I for one Resident of this precious Town which has had its history (we still have the Fort, lest we ever forget!) and its past twee image, is gone for ever, now just decaying, so I and 307 others to date do not want this Town to lose out on this serious Investment and go to another Town waiting in the Shadows to grab it, but to' rise from the ashes', against all the odds !

That said, thank you for a terrific News Site for our local area, since I discovered it I use it regularly and promote you on my Twitter and Facebook


Su Bratchie


As a resident of the local area, I visited the Hillcrest centre today on the first day of the pre-liminary consultation, and have personally spoken to Project director John Lawrence, Comms director Mike Cogswell and interior designer Marina Saclley and this project is in a very conceptual stage. They are after ideas of what to spend their budget of £350million on. They have bought the land already and need some innovative and genius ideas. This is where we should come in. We are a clever bunch and there is great local expertise and innovation...We should embrace this.

From what I gather, the hillcrest centre consultation today/tomorrow is all about what we would like to see in the bubble, which evidently will dwarf the incinerator. So, for the sake of us ill presented sun rationed locals, I have planted the seed of a sandy beach with cocktail bar and big waves for surfing. The lighting can be done in such a way as to make you feel on holiday in the middle of winter. And if the French can take our beach away from us, why not let round table entertainment give us one back that will be warm 365 days year?!

To say this is on the drawing board is an overstatement. Jan to March next year is when the drawings will be agreed ready for the official planning stage. So now is the time to get the ideas rolling in... Yes it's all very up in the air, but this is the time when we have the opportunity to get involved. We all can have a part to play in this fantastic opportunity, and this project needs to evolve. Would one rather they forced a fixed drawing down our throats for approval...Not me. I think it's great they are coming to us for inspirational ideas, and by hec I think we need a project like this to pull the community together, if not for us then for our children. Look what the Olympics did to London!!

We need to make our voice heard, let's not let negativity shout louder in this instance...look at what happened with the incinerator. We should've embraced that one and got a few million quid out of Veolia to spend on community projects. But no, Newhaven got nothing.

From one Keen local resident - I want a holiday in Newhaven for 365 days a year!! Bring on the world's largest Water park with an indoor beach.



I was also very disappointed. No detailed plans or detailed anything. I did learn that not only the Rec had been purchased behind our backs, but also several acres of fields. No mention of what is to happen to the houses that will back onto the Water Park. I was told that a planned road from the A26 through to Kingston Road (C7) complete with a new bridge over the railway lines is planned. 

I asked why, on the back of a very successful Olympics year for Britain did they not consider a sports stadium with an Olympic sized swimming pool, which would really put Newhaven on the map and bring in much the same amount of local employment and regeneration that a Water Park would. The answer I got was, "There would not be enough profit or government investment to make this viable."

I thought this was about private investment for the good of Newhaven and the people of Newhaven. Nothing I saw or heard has changed my belief about this project. Yes Newhaven certainly needs regeneration, but I do not feel this is the right development for the town and people.

Peter Isted


Just been to the "soft" launch.

No detail whatsoever, but lots of pictures of other waterparks. Whoopee.

Damn. Forgot to get my face painted !!!!

Gary Middelton


Having just returned from a look round the waterpark display at The Hillcrest Centre, I must say their plans look exciting.

The public opinion was, (in my view), broadly in favour, but with the obvious caveat of our poor road network. The Folkstone - Honiton Trunk Road (AKA A259) won't be able to handle a huge increase in traffic and there will need to be quite a bit of dual carriageway built and a brand new bridge outside of the town centre I think. On the plus side, there will be plenty of new jobs created. it will really make Newhaven a destination rather than the best forgotten "pass - through as fast as possible" which it currently is in the eyes of most people.

As more jobs are created and other spin-off businesses grow and develop, the demographic in the town should change. This could mean residents with a little more cash to spend and a new-found pride in themselves now that they're in gainful employment, will visit the High Street and thereby encourage shopkeepers to open up new stores too.

Before long we'll have a wine bar and be considered trendy!

Having been in business in this great town since the 90s and with many years of hearing "One day....." it may finally be about to receive a gigantic boost with the waterpark, Asda or Tesco, UTC, and Rampion.

Paul Boswell

Have you been to the Waterpark Soft Launch at the Hillcrest Center? Do you have a view? E-mail