JO BLOGS – WATERPARK POINTS TO PONDER
May 2 2013.
News that the Water Park proposal has been scrapped comes as no great surprise. Flaws in the scheme seemed insurmountable from the start and the timescale was ludicrously over ambitious. I'm still amazed that LDC gave credence to the proposal and think that the quality of any due diligence process which was undertaken by them before the sale of the land to RTE/KEHC is questionable.
A vast Water Park complex was never appropriate for this site. I'm thankful that the land has been returned to LDC by KEHC free of charge, although cannot accept Cllr. Page's claim that the venture has cost nothing - LDC hours spent promoting this farce, along with admin costs alone must have cost a pretty penny. I hope that the LDC land is now devolved to the care of Newhaven Town Council - maybe ESCC can do the same with the adjoining Riverside Park land? - it's the least LDC can do. Any future development of this site should be sympathetic to the nature and character of the area.
Cllr. Page's assertion that nothing has been lost may be true for him - and that's probably all that counts as far as he's concerned, the ability to consult does not appear to be one of his strengths - but for many local residents, the threat to this well-loved and well-used local space has caused distress for almost a year. In addition, local business people have had precious time wasted at Chamber of Commerce meetings being courted by RTE. At least the local Tradesman who fitted out the 'consultation centre' in town which never materialised has now been paid at long last. After this fiasco, many will also have lost faith in Cllr. Page and other individuals at LDC too.
Cllr. Page's transparent attempt to spin this sorry tale into some sort of LDC victory is disingenuous to those who have worked hard to oppose the ridiculous proposal from the start. Perhaps if the decision to sell the land had gone before a committee in the first place, then none of this would have happened. Maybe he and other key players at LDC should reflect on that.
I'm so relieved that this bizarre sequence of events has come to an end and that my family will be able to continue to enjoy the open space at Lewes Road.
Thank you to all who have contributed to the Lewes Road Residents' Voice Facebook page, written letters and attended local meetings. It's heartening that the people of Newhaven and Piddinghoe can make themselves heard when wronged, even in the absence of an official consultation process.
Good things are happening for the town. It's going to be the construction base for the Rampion windfarm, we're getting a University Technical College and an Interchange at the station. There's a lot to feel positive about now that the curtain has finally been drawn on the Water Park pantomime.