Highway concerns remain about Railway Quay scheme in Newhaven

Newhaven Board Walk
Newhaven Board Walk

A scheme which could revitalise Railway Quay in Newhaven is back before the council - but planning officers are recommending it for refusal due to road safety.

The original proposal was rejected in May when the planning committee chose a scheme for Eastside instead, which included an Asda, 190 homes, petrol station, office space and the first stage of the port access road.

Railway Quay developer Arrowcroft said it was hoping the planning committee would give it more time, as highways issues were showing signs of a resolution.

The committee will have the final say at a meeting on Wednesday December 12 at County Hall in Lewes at 5pm, which is open to the public.

The Railway Quay plans include a supermarket, renovating the marine workshops for restaurants and shops and a riverside boardwalk.

The proposal was popular with residents, who were keen to see the prominent and dilapidated Railway Quay improved.

It has the support of Network Rail and includes alterations to the proposed transport interchange and an enhanced system of traffic control at Drove Road.

The previous proposal was refused planning permission chiefly due to objections from East Sussex County Council (Highway Authority) on highways safety. But the county council is objecting to the plan again due to the increased traffic and highway safety.

In the report to the committee planning officers said the use of part of the site as a transport interchange would provide integrated transport for the town. At present there is no taxi rank or pick up/drop off point, nor provision for buses.

But the Highway Authority said based on the independent safety audit there were fundamental issues relating to the interchange, which would lead to congestion and safety issues at busy times.

The Highway Authority said the supermarket would generate excessive traffic in this location, combined with the traffic from the ferry, port and listed buildings, together with the number of accesses and level crossing, all close by.

Planning officers are recommending refusal on highway safety grounds, impact on the vitality and viability of the town centre and the loss of listed buildings.

Co-op is the main draw for town centre visitors, but could be forced to close if this supermarket were approved, as too much of its trade would be taken away.

The proposal includes the restoration of listed buildings for cafes, restaurants, shops and tourist facilities and the refurbishment of customs sheds. Arrowcroft also wants to demolish the locomotive shed, store and office infill buildings next to the marine workshops.