A MAJOR leisure development could be built in Newhaven with a company investing £350m in the scheme.
Rumours have been circulating for weeks now about plans for a casino, water park and hotel in the town.
The Sussex Express asked Lewes District Council to end the speculation and tell residents what was being planned for Newhaven.
Today (Friday July 13) district council leader James Page said: “We want the public to decide on these proposals and indeed discuss how the investment opportunity could benefit them.
“I feel this is a great opportunity for local residents to set out what they would like from a potential £350m investment in their community.
“I am proud that we have won this opportunity for Newhaven over other possible locations in the region.
“I genuinely hope that residents will provide full and thorough feedback to Round Table Entertainments.
“I have also made it clear that I want to work cross-party with fellow district councillors to ensure we listen to residents’ views in on these proposals.”
The district council said it wanted to boost economic growth and create jobs, but stressed residents would have the final say.
As part of the negotiations the council has made clear that no development will proceed without full public consultation.
Up until recently the council had been strictly bound by the developers’ requirement for confidentiality, whilst they explored the potential of Newhaven alongside other possible locations.
The purchase of land for a new hotel on the site of Lewes Road Recreation Ground from the district council has been part of the discussions which have led Round Table Entertainments to choose Newhaven in preference to other possible locations in the South East of England.
Cllr Steve Saunders (Newhaven Valley) said: “I will ensure that I will continue to support and put forward the views of my constituents in any discussions that take place.”
Lead member for business, economic development and tourism cllr Rob Blackman said: “We apologise that more information was not forthcoming, but it is not uncommon when negotiations are of such a scale and magnitude that they have to be kept confidential.
“In order to secure the developer’s interest in our district we have honoured this and had to move very rapidly. “We hope that residents will understand - we are acting completely within the spirit of the law and now we are very keen to involve residents.
“The views of residents and businesses of Newhaven is vital to this project. We will do this by involving the residents of Newhaven in the project and inviting them to share their ideas as to how the development can also benefit them.”
Lewes District Council is on track to publish its community engagement programme for the residents of Newhaven by the end of July.
This will set out how the local community will be engaged and their concerns addressed.
The district council planning authority will consider any planning applications that are submitted to the council.
These will be dealt with by the council’s Planning Applications Committee. The planning application process will be accompanied by extensive publicity and local consultation before any decisions are made.