Your correspondent Henry Page (letters, September 21) is of course wholly correct in his assessment of the decline of Newhaven town centre. This has occurred over a period of many years, during the administration of our local councils by various political parties.
The reasons for this decline are many, and include the development of competing commercial enterprises east of the river, problems with traffic access to the town, a rising business rate, and competition between supermarkets. Not all of these problems were either predictable or preventable; or, as some might say, not enough time or effort was put into the prediction or prevention of them.
Clearly the motivation of the owners of the buildings, including the Co-op store and the other commercial buildings in the town centre, can be only a matter for speculation. But almost any form of re-development, and certainly any change of use whatsoever – specifically in this case from commercial to residential – can only take place if the relevant local council gives planning permission. And while having four supermarkets in town, as against our present three, is surely too many. Having only three and all on the East side of the river should surely be seen as unacceptable.
I believe that East Sussex County Council and Lewes District Council are aware of the problems within Newhaven town centre. Although it is necessary to concede that any change for the better is necessarily going to take time to implement, I am, however, confident that these councils will not allow or condone any change for the worse.
Tony Bradbury, Prospective Conservative County Council Candidate, Newhaven