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May 7 2013.

Interesting to note that all of those that were AGAINST this project from the start and determined to pour scorn on it from every angle-KEPT saying that it is GOOd news for the 'people' of Newhaven that it fell through!
Where did those that were FOR it live then? There were those in Newhaven that were FOR it -I note the Facebook Page (that had a majority of those on it that were against the Water Park Project,' som'e had open minds till they saw the detail when Planning Application was put forward)- That Page only had 108 Likes when I last looked on the Newhaven Recreation Ground Residents Voice, when I last looked on Newhaven Water Park Support Group Page there was 408 Likes !! I realise this is only social media BUT we still had MORE of internet aware Newhaven people on there that were FOR it. I notice 'we' however aren't important enough to have had a Voice and some Say and opinion -ONLY THOSE THAT WERE' AGAINST' DEEMED THEIR OPINION IMPORTANT and spoke for the whole of Newhaven and seemed to think that they have the Monopoly on knowing what was best for our Town ? Arrogant or what !!
I recognise there is always a diffference of opinion, especially those that may have been directly influenced (..i.e. behind their houses) that we always need to be sensitive to, but to steam roller over the FACT that there were people FOR this project in Newhaven as well as against and to deny or disregard that FACT is incredulous ! ... 

Susan Bratchie


It's nice to have all the updates regarding the entire process of the water park proposal. But there is one thing which the developers never considered and that is where to store all the MP's that suddenly came out of the woodwork. Just from reading the letters about how the development was cancelled brought them all out.

Would they normally take such an interest if it wasn't around the time to vote? I seriously doubt it.

Robert Robbins


Councillor Blackman asks how small we want him to think. He then tells us. "... the University Technical College, which is something we have delivered". Really! It must be reeealllly small then, because I haven't seen it. Perhaps he should have been thinking a bit bigger, or maybe it was delivered to the wrong address?

Councillor Page talks money. And money talks after all. £350 million must have talked really loudly, which is perhpaps why he sold off the Rec in such haste?

But after all is said and done, we've got some money out of it. If only we'd had improbable applications like this every year for the last 20 years, we could be rich by now.

Councillor Saunders views the whole thing as a fairy story. Grimm presumably.

I can hardly disagree with Jo's summing up of it being a pantomime. "They're going to open a shop. Oh no they aren't". All things considered, maybe it looks more like a farce.

But lets be fair. In principle, if the money on offer had been put to use, not just to build the mythical Water Park, but also to provide infrastructure updates, it could have provided much-needed regeneration to all parts of the town. But without knowing what they were going to put where, how big, who would be displaced, overlooked, overshadowed and all the other potential downsides, you couldn't make an accurate judgement one way or the other.

Selling off the Rec in great haste just said that the people of Newhaven didn't count in any decision making. Not that that is a particularly new concept. We in Newhaven were just hoping some people might have learned from others arrogance and intransigence.

Cllr. Rod Main


So that was interesting. The developers give back the recreation ground that is known to flood, (but is still welcomed back), but as previously asked; What happens to the large chunk of land the developers paid a £1.00 for? Is this returned as well?

Also the council has never answered the question of where the £800,000 went after Viola paid the sum for putting up a screen of trees to hide the incinerator. Is Newhaven's Council Tax to be lowered?

Peter Isted
Just resident of Newhaven.



Brilliant coverage of all the important issues as usual.

The only thing all parties are agreeing on is the choice of instant media.

Well done all at Haven News, carry on broadcasting!

Don't publish this as we share the same surname and people may think we are related.

Peter Foulkes
Denton Island



How sad that on the day of our election, councillors and prospective councillors and council officials are bickering and making snide and sarcastic remarks to each other. Do they not realise that this is exactly whats puts people off voting - for any party.

Our local politicians should learn to be positive in their outlook and be grown-up enough to ignore negative comments. If a comment from a constituent is negative, at least that means they are engaging and are interested! If they do respond it should be in a measured way that does not decend to making petty remarks.

Kevin Gordon



Just a quick line to say the Business Man - also known as MB Builders HAS been paid - the money went into his account on 25th April.

Anyone interested in a vacant shop unit?!

Paul Boswell
Meeching Estate Agents


Steve, its not very complicated but let me try and explain in simple terms so even you can understand. This is the real world not a 'Fairy Tail'

An opportunity arose, by agreeing to work with the developers we committed, it would have been very stupid to have sold the land and then come out against them, wouldn't it?

At least you have the whit to understand it was a great opportunity, it's a shame that you didn't help rather than nay say!

Now let me help you understand how projects work. The project wasn't our project, it was the developers, so we didn't manage it, control timescales, do their feasibility and all the other things developers do, that was their job. Also you need to check your facts, the developers are not disappearing back to Kuwait, they still have interests in Eastbourne.
To help further with your understanding projects, you know the UTC? That was an LDC project, I commissioned it, gathered the team, controlled the time scales and now have the full support of the Department For Education to build a University Technical College in Newhaven, circa £10,000,000 investment to our town. That's what happens when I run a project.

With regard to officer time and expenses. If you paid attention you would know two things. One, we were the first authority to use an element of the localism act and passed at cabinet and then council a mechanism to charge developers for our time, (you were there at Council, don't you remember?). Two, that all our time and external costs have been accounted for and charged back to the developer. So just to make it clear for you, you are completely wrong, expenses and time were measured, weren't ignored and were recovered! Perhaps you could explain exactly what confidence has been lost? Developers and investors are far more aware of Newhaven than ever before and now know that we won't procrastinate, but will do business whilst protecting both community interest and the District purse.

You need to check your fact on the "business man"

With regard to the Rec, the land was protected from the outset. Now we also have funds from this exercise so that we can work with the community to do improvements with the input of local groups such as NCDA and Town Council.
If only we had grasped an opportunity every year for the last 20 years, the Town & District could be about £800,000 better off, even if none of them came off!

I'm glad you noticed the land is being "gifted" back, didn't we do a brilliant job! You should remember they paid £84k for it. We also negotiated an additional £10,000 to be 'gifted' to us, how good is that!

Now, to be clear, the land as been controlled locally for many many years and the District have indeed paid for its upkeep. Perhaps you could explain the naivety in the decision, was it the legal framework to ensure we would get it back in the event of the project not going ahead? Was it the existing and additional covenants put on the land to ensure it remained an amenity space? Or was it the final straw where we made profit on getting it back?

Finally, you have lowered yourself to say 'I told you so' I can see it written in your note.

Actually one last thing, are you entirely sure you should be writing letters like this given purdah and your candidature as a County Councillor, campaigning? Tut tut.

James Page
Leader LDC



Here's a question for Steve Saunders, Norman Baker and the rest of the people who have little vision but do the easy thing which is to criticise effort and ambition: Just how small do you want us to think?

We put Newhaven on the map at a national level and came out of this with money to spend on your area. Who knows how our ambitions influenced the judging panel for the University Technical College, which is something we have delivered.

I for one will not stop trying to attract large scale developers to the area however much we are criticised for it.

Think small vote Liberal Democrat!

Cllr Rob Blackman
Conservative Lead Member for Business Economic Development and Tourism.


So Pie in the Sky leads to Egg on the Face. I dont suppose Mr Page will let that stop him. Who paid for the manhours wasted on this farce ?

On a lighter note, (excuse the pun); when am I gettin my free electricity, now they don't need to power and heat Page's Pleasure Dome?

And.... Sue (I'm never wrong ) Bratchie says it's all down to NIMBYs and doommongers, when in reality the idea was totally unworkable, too costly and too large. And if the residents of Newhaven did achieve something, it was to show that they will not be railroaded and bought by some chancer waving imaginary cash under their noses . Unlike Mr Page et al............

Gary Middleton



Following my comments only a couple of weeks ago, it seems that what Lewes District Council's administration feared, has become a reality.

I warned them of the dangers of committing themselves so openly to the scheme, which in the style of the Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tale 'The Emperor's New Clothes', promised so much, but continued to produce little for very nearly a whole year.

I could never deny that the idea was, on the face of it, attractive on many levels, but the developers could never, when pressed, offer any credible answer to the huge problems that were stacked against such an incredible scheme. A fact that was clear to all who know the area. The transport infrastructure problems, contaminated land issues and question marks over retaining navigability of the river, were just some of the answers to questions posed that were never answered.

I suggested that progress needed to be made soon, to avoid 'egg on the faces' of both the developers and the LDC administration.The developers will no doubt disappear back to Kuwait and will never be heard of again. The administration however, is left to face the music and try and put a positive spin on the embarrassing mess that remains.

Statements have already been released following the developer's announcements and have suggested that the purchase costs that are retained show that the whole process has been a success. I would argue that anyone can see that wasted officer time and expenses have more than swallowed up the money gained and the loss of business and resident confidence in the Council cannot be measured, or more importantly, ignored.

Yet again local residents and businesses have been promised much and let down. I hoped that even if the scheme turned out to be the pipe dream I feared, it would focus attention on the town and the opportunities for developers. I hope that this is a legacy that does come out of this experience and that the Council's regeneration department can pick up the pieces and move forward.

Hopefully the businessman who was left with an unpaid invoice will receive payment in full from the developers before they slither away. If not, Lewes District Council, I feel, must settle his outstanding costs.

The recreation ground and associated amenity land will be 'gifted' back to the District Council and I for one will be demanding that the whole area is devolved to the Town Council, so that the people of Newhaven take back control of their asset and will never have to be put through such a farcical experience again, following a naive decision, without properly consulting with those most affected, namely the residents of Newhaven and surrounding villages.

I won't lower myself to say 'I told you so', but I am glad I reserved my judgement until firm plans were available.

Steve Saunders


My initial response was one of emptiness but then resentment for the amount of time, effort and worry this charade has put us all though.

I truly hope Newhaven can now move forward with some worthwhile and realistic development plans to bring positive change.

Steve St.Clair


Wonder why Normans 'not surprised !'. So many naysayers, sceptics, cynics, nimbys and just downright short sightedness.

Not everyone will be celebrating this news. We will probably never know why they turned their back on Newhaven, wouldn't be surprised if project turns up somewhere else in the UK wher it could be recieved more positively.

The only good news is, due to proper legal management by LDC , the land is returned, money kept and a contribution made to Environmental Improvements. But still someone will also have something negative to say about this !

Glad we had this opportunity put on the Table, as we were still quids in ! Hope we get another another opportunity that could bring something to our Town that will raise our profile and still deserving of a Gateway to Europe Port Town

Anyone for an Ice Rink ? No public money so any Private Investors out there ?

Susan Bratchie



Which piece of land is to be returned? Is it the recreation field bought for £84,000 or the ex-council waste area, sold for £1?

Veronica Drake, Newhaven



Apparently as usual, this should not have been released until all interested parties were informed, some before others it seems!

At least the opportunity and Investment was grabbed with both hands, properly protected by Legal Departments and no money lost but gained. Only thanks to some Councillors and people willing to grab such a huge project with both hands for the people of the South East and Newhaven and put it on the table !

There are a lot of people who won't be celebrating the demise of this project on the 'Facepage Water Park Support Page', we will always wonder how much the Cynicism,Naysayers and NIMBYS, had to do with the killing off of this project, I wonder why 'you' are not entirely surprised ??? Maybe its because you didn't bag the opportunity for us, so were never FOR it? .

How many Opportunities of Investment of this size HAVE you brought to the Table ? The District Council has not lost but still gained financially from this, I am sure that will be put out by the appropriate people at LDC who are probably shocked that this has appeared without opportunity to all make statements together- wonder how that has happened again?

It is sad to see the sinking of so many jobs for our young people and a prosperous future for our young people and Newhaven and you mention infrastructure, you well know there was millions on offer to invest in our stupid inadequate infrastructure.

The project would also have raised the profile of our Port, and helped increase footfall for our ailing Ferry, still propped up by French Taxpayers, which in all 'reality' may not survive now either.

Have you got some better ideas apart from an ugly wind farm with dubious technology and credentials?

Susan Bratchie


So now all the depressing 'it'll never happen' brigade are proved right ... probably their negativity that lost us this opportunity.....


Andy Barnes



Talk about digging a hole for yourself and then jumping in. Shakespeare described our local politicians perfectly:

"You scullians, you rampallians, you fustilarians: I'll tickle your catastrophe" (Henry IV, Part 2)



Nilam Popat, Corporate Head of Communities and Enterprise said: "Lewes District Council sold the Lewes Road recreation ground to Kuwaiti European Holding Company (KEHC) in June 2012. We were paid for the sale and all the legal costs associated with it.

"The conditions of the sale protected it as an open space and allowed for the developer to offer it back or for the council to ask for it back if the development didn't go ahead.

"KEHC have offered to return it to us at no cost and make a small contribution towards environmental improvements."

Council Leader, Cllr James Page, said: "I am disappointed that this particular proposal didn't work out but we haven't lost anything: Lewes district is still open to big ideas, we've put Newhaven on the map and we've shown we can work with developers and the community to bring them to fruition.

"Not every project will go ahead so we are the first council in the country, so far as I am aware to use new powers under the Localism Act to make sure the council's not out of pocket if things don't work out.

"KEHC has offered to return the recreation ground to us at no cost and make a small contribution towards environmental improvements so both the council and the people of Newhaven will actually be a bit better off.

"We will take a similar 'nothing ventured, nothing gained and nothing lost' approach to other major proposals to bring regeneration and prosperity and make sure the interests of Lewes residents are protected.

"Some initiatives we start and have overall control of, like the University Technical College. This was my vision and I have steered it through successfully to the point where we have a viable partnership to create and run the college and the Government has given it the go-ahead.

"Where ideas come from others we listen to, advise and work with developers but we also make sure we don't lose public money and that there is good public consultation."

Lewes District Council


I am not entirely surprised that the proposed waterpark is to be sunk without trace. It was always a hugely ambitious project which would have required, amongst other things, tens of millions to be spent on transport infrastructure locally to make it work.

Whatever people's views, for or against, it is good that we now have clarity and Newhaven can plan ahead accordingly.

The outstanding issue is the future of the land the district council made available to the developers at a give-away price. I would welcome an assurance that this will now return to district council ownership and control, at no loss to the local taxpayer.

Norman Baker MP