Delays ahead for Newhaven Eastside scheme?

OFFICERS at Lewes District Council are advising the council to delay a decision on a major development at Newhaven Eastside.

This would give the council the opportunity to factor in two other planning applications for supermarkets which have been submitted.

But developer Avalon Newhaven, which has the backing of ASDA and Barratt Homes, argues other schemes are some way off being ready and still have hurdles to overcome.

Avalon also said the council should listen to the local community and give the project the go ahead.

The planning committee will examine the proposal on Wednesday January 4. The scheme for land in The Drove comprises building 190 homes, including 25 per cent affordable housing, an ASDA supermarket (net sales area 3,696 sq m) and a petrol station.

A report by planning officers said: “In terms of timescale it is anticipated that the applications would be reported to the committee between March and May 2012. At that future meeting decisions on the applications would then be made in the best interests of Newhaven, in accordance with the economic and regeneration aims for the town.”

The Eastside scheme could generate around 450 jobs, as well as further employment in the construction sector.

A spokesperson for Avalon said: “We have had a huge level of public support, not least from all those who have contacted the council directly to urge them to support us. Newhaven needs a boost and we want to deliver much needed investment as soon as possible. The sooner we can get on with bringing jobs and prosperity to Newhaven the better. There are two major developers ready to spend money in Newhaven.”

The access road, which forms part of the development, would also form part of the port access road, which has long been a goal for East Sussex County Council.

Officers said the plans were acceptable in terms of access, traffic generation and parking.

The Environment Agency and Southern Water are happy the development can be protected from flooding.

Newhaven Town Council was in favour of the plans too and local people seem to be generally in favour of it. The scheme would also encourage economic development.

However the report said the council had earmarked the site for commercial development with the aim of providing a significant number of skilled jobs.

It was considered by officers that this development would not deliver the quality of jobs which the site was meant to.

The report also said the store could draw a significant amount of trade away from the Co-Op in Newhaven and Peacehaven.

It added other proposed supermarkets were closer to the town centre, whereas this one was an out of town site.

And officers pointed out there was no overriding need for 190 homes on the site and that the supermarket building would stick out in views of the site.