Public meeting will discuss sale of recreation ground

THE CONTROVERSIAL decision to sell the Lewes Road Recreation Ground in Newhaven has prompted a local resident to stage a public meeting.

Organiser and mum Jo Pettitt, whose children play on the recreation ground, said she thought residents had a lot of questions.

Leader of Lewes District Council James Page, Newhaven MP Norman Baker and Newhaven Valley district councillor Steve Saunders will speak at the event, which is open to all.

The residents’ meeting will take place on Tuesday July 31 from 7pm to 8pm at the Lewes Road Hut.

Organiser Jo Pettit, who lives in Lewes Road, said: “It’s a residents’ meeting to share views about the sale and proposed developments.

“There are lots of questions that really people feel haven’t been answered and lots of questions people have about the way in which the sale was put through.

“It’s not really clear what will happen to the land if the development doesn’t happen.

“I was just alarmed that the sale went through so quickly.

“It stops people having any faith in a real consultation because people feel they have been treated badly.”

Lewes Road Recreation Ground and adjoining land was sold to Round Table Entertainments by Lewes District Council in June consultation period of just over two weeks.

The purpose of the meeting will be to share information and views about the sale and to discuss the recent proposals by Round Table Entertainments to develop a £350m leisure complex in the town.

To protect the public interest, the district council, which sold the land at Robinson Road for use as a hotel development, has said it would retain the right to take the land back if the development was not substantially completed.

This week the European director of KEH Developments, Dominic Howson, reassured residents that the hotel would not be built on the Lewes Road Recreation Ground (see story on page one).

Mr Howson said: “The recreation ground will not be used for at least five or six years, potentially even staying open for a decade.”

However he could not rule out that the land would not be used for some other purpose in the future.

Lewes District Council has published a list of frequently asked questions about this scheme and its answers to them. Visit http://www.lewes.gov.uk.