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March 22nd, 2018.

Councillor Steve Saunders writes:

It never ceases to appal me as to the depths the Tory administration at East Sussex County Council will go to crush Newhaven underfoot.

Labour has been shouting about how it can make a difference for the town in recent election material it issued in support of its candidate in the by-election. But true to form, Labour supported the Tories yet again and ensured more traffic chaos, air and noise pollution are forced upon us in Newhaven.

Despite 200 objections from local people, as well as strong objections and protestations from Newhaven Town Council, the application to build a tarmac plant on North Quay, was passed by the County Planning Committee last Wednesday.

Thousands of HGV's delivering and collecting from the plant will now add to our already choked traffic infrastructure, pumping out tonnes of toxic fumes into our already deadly atmosphere. The plant itself will throw up more pollution through its towering chimney and as a 24 hour, 7 days a week operation, will cause misery and disturbance to thousands of residents throughout and around the town.

The bridge will open significantly more times as materials are brought in by ship and add to the traffic jams that form without warning and cause hours of delays for residents and visitors.

And who made the decision? Was it councillors from Newhaven? No, of course not - it was the nimby councillors who live miles away from the problems we have in Newhaven. They are from Eastbourne (Con), Pevensey (Con), Bexhill (Ind), Uckfield (Con), Hastings (Lab) and Hailsham (Con). They will, no doubt, similarly approve a further application to build a concrete plant next to our Nature Reserve on the Ouse Estuary when it comes before them soon.

Let's face it, they don't give a damn about our town and what a mess they make of it, as long as they keep it away from their own towns and villages.

Our Tory MP suggested she also objected to the tarmac plant, but her influence appears to have no weight whatsoever with her Councillors, as one by one they approved the application.

What will we gain as a town you may ask? £15,000 towards initiatives for the Air Quality Action Plan - surely not having the plant would be the best initiative! - and an acoustic barrier to try and mitigate noise pollution. No money for the local community. No new road linking it (and the Incinerator) to the A26, to divert traffic away from the town. Not even many jobs as a result - only four full-time appointments and 15 indirect positions. No money for road improvements. No money for the local community.

As a councillor for nearly 11 years, representing the Valley Ward of Newhaven, I am often faced with comments such as, "You councillors are all the same". Well, I can assure you we're not! My colleague on the town council and the ESCC member for Newhaven East, Darren Grover (LD), was on the committee and not only spoke strongly against the application, but voted against it. Sarah Osbourne (LD), the county councillor for the West of the town and villages to the North, lobbied hard for it to be refused, but her protestations were similarly ignored, as Tory, Labour and Independent Councillors gleefully voted the application through, safe in the knowledge that their electors would not be affected.

How anyone can vote Conservative or Labour in Newhaven and the surrounding area,is beyond my comprehension. Between the South Downs National Park, the Ouse Valley Nature Reserve and the coast, Newhaven is systematically being turned into - and I apologise for my expletive - a 'S**t Sandwich', on which the Tories and their Labour accomplices continue to feed.

I hope you are pleased with the misery, ill health and despair you have voted on Newhaven. Similar to your glorious leader Theresa May over the Nerve Agent in Salisbury, we can only come to the conclusion that your complicity in the approval was either down to ignorance or direct stupidity.

The only other reason that may be drawn has already been suggested on social media and involves what would only be libelous for me to mention here, so I'll leave that to be discussed on a different format.

It just remains for me to say well done to ESCC for yet another nail in Newhaven's coffin and thank you for consistently failing to listen to our residents.

Councillor Steve Saunders (Lib. Dem.)
Lewes District and Newhaven Town Councillor (Valley Ward)