‘Keep park for the community’ says Newhaven

Residents find out about Riverside Park
Residents find out about Riverside Park

A steady stream of Newhaven residents visited a fun afternoon organised by Riverside Park Community Voice on Saturday and shared their ideas for the future of the site.

At the Lewes Road hut they were able to find out more about the piece of land with its high ground, wetland and path to Piddinghoe which was proposed to host the world’s largest water park.

Residents came up with projects for the park like a nature reserve, sports facilities like football pitches and tennis courts, a toddler area, a BMX track and skatepark.

Riverside Park is a designated Site of Nature Conservation Importance and information about the varied and, in some cases nationally scarce, species was on display.

Photographs of people enjoying the site were also on show as well as beautiful images of the Riverside Park at different times of the year.

Riverside Park Community Voice is a group of local people who want to see the future of the park decided and managed by Newhaven people.

The group has a petition calling for Lewes District Council and East Sussex County Council to transfer the land to Newhaven Town Council and safeguard it for future generations, which visitors signed during the afternoon.

Other groups including the Ouse Valley Cycle Network, Castle Hill Conservation Group, The Railway Land Project in Lewes, Veolia and local Canine Behaviour experts also had stands for the afternoon.

“The message is clear that this huge open space is valued and that residents want to see its future as a community asset protected,” saidJo Pettitt, of Riverside Park Community Voice.

So far the petition has attracted more than 200 signatures since it began on July 27.

The petition will close on October 12.

You can sign it at http://www.riversidepark.org.uk/

Riverside Park Community Voice was set up after the land was sold to Kuwaiti developers who had hoped to build the largest indoor water park in the world on it earlier this year.

However the plans fell through because it was decided it was not economically viable to build on the land because it was contaminated.

East Sussex County Council had declared the land surplus to requirments and agreed to dispose of it for £1 for regeneration purposes with the promise of 650 news jobs and a further 300 in the local area from the water park and hotel leisure development proposal.

You can keep up to date with the group’s activities via their Facebook page Riverside Park Community Voice.