Council under fire for plan to sell Newhaven playing fields for hotel development

THE CONTROVERSIAL plan to build a hotel on playing fields was criticised by Newhaven Town Council today.

It pointed out Lewes Road Recreation Ground in Newhaven was essential, popular and well loved by residents.

The town council also cast doubt on Lewes District Council’s ability to find alternative open spaces offering better recreation activities in an improved a location.

Councillor Judith Ost, Leader of the Town Council said: “The deadline for objections to this proposal is ludicrously short and the town council has pulled out all the stops to make sure that we raise the strongest possible objection on behalf of our local residents.

“It seems that Lewes District Council welcomes any scheme that badges itself as regeneration without any critical thinking and without reference to local people.

“Preservation of our open spaces is not an optional extra, it is fundamentally important.

“There is hardly a shortage of unused, under-used and unloved areas of land in the town.”

In their strong and detailed objection sent to the district council, the town council also said that the sale of any recreation ground for development, conflicted with the district council’s own planning policies.

The town council further stated the long desired Riverside Park, providing enhanced recreational facilities for the town on this site, would be far more beneficial to the local community than a hotel.

And it criticised the way in which the decision was made in secret by the leader of the District Council and not by a committee or by the full council.

The town council said it was in appropriate for a decision of this importance.

The proposed sale was advertised in the Argus newspaper on Wednesday June 6 and the town council had not been informed of it before that date.

The deadline for objections to the sale is noon on Wednesday June 20.

Objections should be sent to Nilam Popat, Corporate Head Communities and Enterprise, Lewes District Council, Southover House, Southover Road, Lewes BN7 1AB, or by email to: lucy.knott@lewes.gov.uk

The full objection from Newhaven Town Council can be found on their website at www.newhaventowncouncil.gov.uk/news