A SCHEME to transform the derelict Railway Quay in Newhaven into a riverside development has been revived.
Developer Arrowcroft announced it had resubmitted plans to Lewes District Council. The company said another supermarket was showing interest in the site, while Tesco was reviewing its involvement. Arrowcroft director Daniel Carter said: “One of the major operators with whom we are in discussions will take the store as it is such a great development. “The issue is not whose name is above the door but to secure regeneration of Railway Quay and Newhaven town centre.” Newhaven Port manager Francois Jean added: “Without regeneration of Railway Quay, the poor environment in Newhaven damages prospects for future investment in the Newhaven/Dieppe ferry and reduces the attractiveness of Newhaven as a location for businesses.” A Lewes District Council plannning committee turned down the scheme on May 23 on highways grounds, but Mr Carter said this was an error because Arrowcroft had not applied for permission for any highway junction design. He said the application was for outline permission, with highways design reserved for later consideration. Mr Carter said the planning committee did not follow the council’s own adopted policies or national planning policy, which give preference to schemes closer to existing town centres over those further away. But the district council strongly refuted the allegation that an “error” was made in its decision to refuse the application on highway grounds.
A district council spokesperson said: “Whilst the application was in outline form, it was clearly necessary for the council to consider, in principle, the highway implications of this major development proposal.
“The new application submitted by Arrowcroft has been validated and is currently the subject of consultation and assessment, on completion of which it will be decided at the earliest opportunity.”
MP Norman Baker said: “The district council’s planning committee now has a second opportunity to make the right decision for Newhaven following their bizarre and inexplicable decision to give the green light to a different supermarket on totally the wrong piece of land while turning this one down.
“On a related matter, information has recently been provided to me to suggest that that previous decision may be unsafe in planning law and I have now written to Bob Neill, the Planning Minister, to make him aware of this new information and to ask him to prevent the district council issuing final permission for the alternative site until the information I have been given has been independently investigated.”
Arrowcroft said it had the support of partners Royal Bank of Scotland, Newhaven Port and Properties and Network Rail. The scheme includes a superstore, cafe, filling station and parking, and transport interchange, the restoration of listed buildings for use as restaurants, cafes, shops and tourist facilities, while the customs sheds would be refurbished. A new passenger terminal and riverside boardwalk would be built.