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September 2 2014.

Norman Baker's plan for a revised two-way ring road round Newhaven town centre has raised a mixed response. Do you have a view? Email

I notice Sceptic is still "tanking on" about our MP's past.

For the record I believe Norman was first elected onto Lewes District Council in 1987 - at the time he defeated the current Tory Leader for his seat.

Whist LDC would have had some input into the scheme for the one-way system, it was and is primarily the responsibility of East Sussex County Council for roads improvements of this scale as well as the Highways Agency. ESCC also bear the responsibilty for the notoriously unreliable swing-bridge, whose failure a couple of Mondays ago in the middle of the evening rush-hour caused absolute chaos - this, after the bridge had been opened in the peak of the busy period to let a small fishing craft through. I was on a 12X "Express" bus service trying to get across the bridge, but abandoned it and walked over the bridge, which was accessible for pedestrians and cyclists through the jammed barriers.

If after 40 years East Sussex County Council can't install a fail-safe mechanism on a bridge on a vital traffic artery like the A259, maybe it's their administration we should be sceptical about.

Regarding the old canard about the Beddingham flyover, our MP rented a house some years beforehand in the old railway cottages which sadly (in my view) had to be demolished to make way for the embankment. I personally feel the bridge could have been placed a bit further eastwards, but the planners felt otherwise. By the time the scheme was being proposed he had moved to his present home in Lewes. So any idea that his policies were coloured by personal interests is a complete fabrication.

Bob Brown


Newhaven has a ferry service that brings hundreds into the area every day. We need to do something to encourage those people to stop off in Newhaven and the surrounding area. We are missing a huge financial business opportunity. We need to regenerate and encourage businesses.



Having just read Normal Bakers Ring Road plan I am shaking my head in despair at the naivety of it. It will not reinvigorate the town centre or improve the traffic. In fact it is quite likely the traffic will be worse as more traffic control will be required upsetting the flow. It also needs to be put in context the traffic is not that bad (I moved here from Brighton where it is much worse), most of the time it is fine and only when the bridge is open or at peak times are you ever held up for more than a couple of minutes.

To 'fix' Newhaven town centre something far more radical needs to be done. The problem isn't lack of access or scary traffic putting people off. The problem is Sainsbury's is much more convenient and with a relatively small population living within a short walk from the town centre it is easier to hop in your car and head out of town.

The solution is to create a thriving town centre population that will want to use local shops, which will also help East Sussex can meet its new housing quota. I would suggest pretty much demolishing the town centre and starting again (this can be done in phases) and building something that is unique in order to attract overflow from Brighton, commuters from London, and people that are interested in living somewhere different.

I feel the new town centre should be built one floor above the current centre, leaving the current level for the through road (it could literally go straight through beneath the new town) access roads plus a lot of free underground parking. Above this would be a pedestrianised area with 3 to 5 storey buildings including some shops at the new ground level. New residential would be town houses and apartments with possibly some office space. Everything build to be cutting-edge eco-friendly with roof top gardens and utilising green energy.

If you want to 'fix' Newhaven start thinking radical ideas. Moving the road, encouraging local markets and offering discounted rent is not the cure and will only delay the inevitable. However if something really unique can be created then Newhaven could become a thriving town again that people want to live in.

Luke Rees


I moved to Newhaven three and half years ago as the house prices were attractive.

The other reason I moved here was the prospect of the regeneration of the town centre that so much talk was heard of. I would much rather see money being pumped into this, rather than a new road.

Linda Johnson


Having lived in Newhaven when the ring road was introduced, it was seen as the way forward to provide a safe environment for the shoppers of Newhaven. 

There was no out of town superstores and car ownership and use was a luxury, not a necessity. People use to shop daily and not do huge weekly shops and put it all in the freezer or throw it away when it went rotten. 

To say the ring road was the sole reason for the death of Newhaven Town Centre is false. A complete lack of investment for too many years has meant that huge investment is now needed to restore Newhaven to former glories.

Bringing markets into the town to attract people to the town ensures that money leaves the town as Market Traders take money away. 

Opening up the top of the town to traffic will I fear be the final straw for the town centre. 

Give people free parking allow them to shop in a dry and comfortable environment. Give them a reason to go to Newhaven town centre. Don’t just rely on the goodwill of the few traders who are left to help improve what’s there. Give businesses a reason to open in Newhaven. Stepped rents for all, not just the few. Put the council offices in the middle of the town for a start.

If the police station is to move, then put that in the middle of the town as well.

I fear the agenda is to move Newhaven east of the river, which is not all bad, but the town centre as it is now needs a plan as well, even it is just to turn it residential with a few convenience stores.

Bob Thomsett


Wasn’t he part of the Council that approved the present version? 

Plus; do I remember his opposition to the Railway Flyover at Beddingham? We sceptics wonder why that was, too. Am I wrong, or was he a Resident nearby?

What Compulsory Purchases will this plan involve?

Still Sceptic


I think this is a good plan – for the reasons below, plus some extras!

It effectively doubles the pedestrian friendly part of the centre.

Much friendlier to any new development  - commercial or residential on that side of the town. 

Add in free 40 minute kerbside parking (knock down existing car park as it’s underused, ugly, not user friendly) and surely there’s now an incentive for anyone passing though to stop and use shops and services in the Town (if any come back).

Make town centre mixed use services and shops – incentivise shops with the free parking and see if anything be done on rent

Consider a gallery space, and also consider upgrading town museum and combining it with this – moving it from current location near paradise park. Newhaven has masses of both maritime and art history - Use it. It’s interesting and this place has a heart. 

That’s it from me. Good Idea Norman, I fully support you.

Ami Smithson


Although anything that addresses the demoralisation of the town is a starting point, unfortunately, Mr Baker (as is usual when it comes to matters in his constituency outside of Lewes) is guilty of not recognising the problem...

The truth of the matter is that there is so little left in Newhaven worth stopping for - if Norman was as keen to keep shops open, reduce business rates thus making "interesting" shops more viable, did more to open the market and reduced / got rid of  the town centre parking so people could afford to stay a while - then he might get slightly more support!

Name and address supplied.


Yes please, what a good idea!

Gill Grainger
Local resident


Having re-read what is suggested hopefully some knowledgeable person in the Highways Planning Department at ESCC can explain to Norman the principle of touch points. Like where one part of a road network connects with another and the effect, if not suitably managed, of traffic jams and their resulting chaos. Yes, at times in Newhaven, there are traffic problems BUT the existing road system minimises those for most of the time. BUT, with what is being suggested, some of those where there is currently problems would be worse and for more of the day. Where? Both ways by the river bridge on the west side as it would now need to have constant traffic light control to enable traffic coming out westward from South Way to cross the river, like to and from Lewes Road, which would also now need new traffic light control, like from the west of South Way, where access is needed in any direction, where again more traffic light control would be needed. Currently 2 of the 3 sets of traffic lights ONLY stop traffic when pedestrians want to cross the road and the other would be a totally new set, where none currently exist.

Kenneth Shipway THIS is totally unneeded! If ONLY the ESCC, Brighton & Hove and Lewes District Council would grab the situation from Black Rock through to the Eastbourne side of Seaford and provide a much needed coastal through route that goes past, mainly, the north side of the coastal developed areas, the likes of problems on the current coast road, the river bridge at Newhaven and on through Seaford, could all be memories. How you say? Well how about the through road being north of Newhaven and going over the river where no bridge opening would usually be needed, by going past, but with connections to it, the coastal area from Black Rock to Exceat, on the Eastbourne side of the river, the problem with the bridge at Exceat could be eliminated. Where such a road intersected but went over the A26 north of Newhaven, people from east and west at that point would not need to be in Newhaven to get to the A27 at Beddingham. I could go on BUT hopefully those who may read this will get the drift, especially if a bypass road like I have suggested was 2 lanes each way and intersections to and from it were like done on the A23 to the north of Brighton and as done on motorways.

Oh, and one VERY important point, the road I am suggesting should be able to have ALL types of vehicles using it WITHOUT any restrictions.

One other VERY important point is that such a road would eliminate a HIGH proportion of the fumes given off by vehicles currently having to use the current coastal route to the BETTERMENT of the HEALTH of all the people living in the area that would have relief by providing the road I have suggested.

YES, I do believe in maintaining the green belt areas BUT, that should NEVER be at the expense of the HEALTH of people OR animals.

Kenneth Shipway 


Don't want to slow it down, you want to speed it up. 

Have you been on it at 5.30pm on a week day?

Keith Johnson 


It will never happen!!!

Jim Vidler 


Should have been done years, ago!

Emma Saunders


Yes do it.

Something has got to be done. Newhaven is getting terrible with build-up of traffic in both directions.

Julie Bush 


Might make the town centre less of a ghost town, assuming the council don't screw it up

Jon Davies


This idea has been around for 10-15 years (perhaps longer), and makes a lot of sense.

David Rogers


But it's never been acted on!

Jim Vidler