400 at beach demonstration against plans for concrete plant

Getting the message across ... protesters on the beach
Getting the message across ... protesters on the beach

Newhaven saw a huge demonstration on Saturday with a crowd of 400 amassing on the beach, and a posse of hardy sea swimmers taking the plunge into water with a temperature of just four degrees.

The protesters are calling for the controversial Brett Aggregate concrete plant to be refused planning permission, saying it will worsen existing problems with traffic congestion and air quality, create a “terrible” first impression to people arriving by ferry, and too few jobs will be created.

Emily O’Brien, a spokesperson for local campaign group Community Action Newhaven, which organised the protest, said: “This site is near to the beach, to residential areas, a nature reserve and the South Downs National Park.

“It comes with a subsidy funded by the taxpayer to create a ‘clean and green’ development. To suggest building a concrete plant here is a joke - it is one of the least clean and green industries.”

She continued: “Brett say that they have ‘consulted’ with the community but all they have done is made a few changes to the design. This proposal can’t be fixed with a few tweaks - this is completely the wrong development.

“That’s why 1,000 people have sent in objections, why 3,000 people have signed a petition and why this huge crowd has turned out to protest, despite the freezing cold conditions.

“People today sent a very clear message to East Sussex County Councillors that they must say no to this proposal - or they will fail in their duty to this community.”

She said residents can object in writing or via the county council website, and can sign the online petition. They are also encouraged to email East Sussex councillors on the Planning Committee, who will be making the decision.

Updates on the campaign are regularly posted on the Community Action Newhaven Facebook page at www.facebook.com/CommunityActionNewhaven