FRENCH and English officials met in Lewes to hammer out how to improve the economy in Newhaven.
The discussion was orchestrated by Newhaven MP Norman Baker and included councillors, as well as port owner Newhaven Port and Properties.
They talked about investment in the port and how parties could work together to support NPP’s plans, which form part of the wider regeneration of the town.
NPP has developed a masterplan for the port which focuses on creating jobs in the marine, low carbon and tourism sectors.
It also wants to invest in infrastructure to enable it to service the construction and operation of E-On’s Rampion offshore wind farm.
All parties made a commitment to work together to do all they could to promote the port to E-On as the location for construction and operation of the wind farm.
They also agreed to implement a joint and integrated marketing strategy for Dieppe and Newhaven, increasing awareness of the ferry route.
It was agreed that all parties will work together to:
Maintain and promote traffic on the Newhaven-Dieppe ferry route by improving facilities for passengers and freight.
Invest in infrastructure to establish a clean technology and renewable energy business cluster, building on the success of existing local businesses and the opportunities available in servicing offshore wind development.
Increase the volume of international trade through the port with a focus on renewable energy supplies such as biomass.
Invest in infrastructure for the continued development of the fishing and leisure marine sectors and improve facilities for residents.
Enhance the natural marine environment by establishing a public access conservation area on port land.
Mr Baker said: “This was a very useful meeting with all the key players here from both sides of the Channel.
“We have strong agreement on a way forward across borders, councils and different parties. We now have a clear way forward with Newhaven centre stage.”
Leader of Lewes District Council Tony Nicholson, added: “Lewes District Council has prioritised regeneration of Newhaven and we will support NPP in their drive to win business for Newhaven which will create jobs for local people”.
Lead member for economy, transport and environment Carl Maynard, said: “We are committed to the regeneration of Newhaven and will continue to play a key role in delivering the transport infrastructure of Newhaven”.
Leader of Newhaven Town Council Judith Ost, said “The discussion today was very positive and constructive. It is clear that all partners – both sides of the Channel - are determined to achieve the regeneration of the port as part of the regeneration of the town and we look forward to working constructively together with them”.
Dieppe Mayor Sebastien Jumel, underlined the importance of developing Newhaven Port in order to strengthen the Transmanche link.
He was pleased to see the overall objectives of the Port masterplan presented by NPP and was delighted by the “sacred union” of different local authorities in support of it.
Finally, he asked for this political support to form part of a formal commitment aimed at the long term sustainability of the scheme.
Patrick Jeanne, vice president of the General Council of Seine-Maritime and Chairman of NPP appreciated the support of all present and welcomed the opportunity to work together.
He said: “It demonstrates the necessity to get firm commitments from the Councils represented in order that the development of the port of Newhaven becomes a concrete reality for the people of the area.