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February 27 2013.

Newhaven Town Councillor Carla Butler reports from the Appeal:

East Sussex County Council is leading the Appeal in defence of its decision to register the Beach, which it made following a public inquiry in 2010 at which all the evidence was carefully considered by an Inspector on their behalf. Newhaven Town Council will be represented in court as the Second Appellant (the Town Council made the original application to register the beach as a Village Green). The respondent in the case is Newhaven Port and Properties, which owns the Beach and closed it in 2006 citing health and safety reasons

Day 1
A very thorough, complicated debate about the issue of the clash of statutory regimes took up most of the first day. This was the point on which the judicial review was lost by ESCC.

The morning opened with arguments from Mr Stephen Sauvain, QC for ESCC, setting out their case as to why the appeal should be allowed. The Town Council's QC Mr George Laurence spoke next backing up Mr Sauvain's arguments and expanding on case law cited. The QC for NPP of course disagreed.

In the final stages of the argument a couple of interesting points came up. At one point Mr Laurence our QC said: "The good nature of previous generations, (in not preventing access to the beach), should have a permanent memorial." I thought that was a rather nice quote as well as apparently being a general legal principle in this case. NPP's QC said: "This case is unique because it is a tidal beach and this shows Newhaven (Town Council) are particularly ingenious in applying for village green status."

The judges retired for a couple of minutes and then returned to the court to announce that they 'reserved their position' on the appeal, which meant that they would now hear NPP's arguments against all the other points on which the judge in the judicial review had felt that the beach was registrable. Our solicitor felt that this meant that all was not lost - they had a lot to think about.

NPP's QC then began to argue once again that village greens should be covered in grass. This argument did not appear to be winning the judges over but time will tell.

Cllr Carla Butler

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