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July 23 2016.

Newhaven Town Council news:

Newhaven Town Council has been working hard behind the scenes to try and build better relationships with the French directors of Newhaven Port and Properties.

A video in French made by the town council to explain the feelings of local people about the closure of the beach was sent to Rouen by courier in August last year and since then there have been a number of emails and letters between the town council and Rouen.

The Mayor has had face to face meetings with the Chairman of NPP’s Board of Directors, M Alain Bazille both in Rouen and the UK.

The latest of these meetings took place recently in Seaford. Following a re-showing of the town council’s video, a frank discussion took place regarding the possibility of re-opening the beach.

Unfortunately it was made clear at the meeting that NPP’s directors feel that it remains impossible to re-open the beach. The main reasons given were:

* That they believe it would not be possible to continue to dredge the shipping channel inside the port if the beach was open because the dredging would contaminate the bathing water

* NPP does not currently have the financial means to carry out the expensive repairs needed to the sea-wall to make the beach safe. (The Town Council could help with the costs of the steps, but does not have enough money to cover the other repairs)

* Although it is possible to take out public liability insurance to protect against compensation claims by members of the public in the event of an accident, NPP believes it is not possible to protect its personnel against possible prosecution under the Corporate Manslaughter Act if something were to go wrong.

The Mayor of Newhaven, Councillor Steve Saunders said: “I am disappointed at NPP's decision not to reopen the beach at this time and not being able to give the good news that everyone was hoping for. The people of the Town are naturally angry and frustrated at its continued closure and I completely sympathise and share in these understandable views. I have tried hard with officers and colleagues at Newhaven Town Council to reach a compromise solution with the Port Authority, which would see this well-loved facility available for everyone to enjoy again.

“I will continue to try and find a way forward and do not wish to capitulate on this particular issue, despite not being able to negotiate a way forward at this time. The relationship that the Council has with NPP outside this one issue, remains good and we continue to support each other in areas of much-needed regeneration in the Town.”