Objections were ignored

Diane Hall,Fairholme Road, Newhaven

Monday, 13th August 2018, 8:50 am
Updated Tuesday, 4th September 2018, 8:21 pm

Regarding the recent planning application granted by ESCC to Brett Aggregates, at East Quay, Newhaven Harbour.

Despite hundreds of objections and a demonstration on the Beach at TideMills this was still ignored by County Council. I believe there should be an investigation, as I believe ESCC Planning Department are not fit for purpose, and see Newhaven as a ‘dumping ground’.

Yes, strong words...but backed up by my reasons for stating this: Some 20 months ago, whilst walking my dog at TideMills (which I and dozens of other dog walkers do daily) I walked up from the beach, next to the East Pier, to then walk across the Nature Reserve. As I got to the grass area, I noticed two operatives from NPP (wearing NPP tabards) and two others wearing Brett Aggregates tabards.

I crossed the green as the two NPP personnel turned and walked away.

I asked the Brett Aggregates people what was happening on that piece of land?

The gentleman from Brett walked away, but the lady was friendly and chatty.

I asked her what was happening to the land? She told me: “We’re from Brett Aggregates, and we will be bringing aggregates here by ship, once the broken berth (next to the East Pier) has been dug out and renewed.”

I then said: “It gets very windy here, it will all blow away” to which she laughed, and explained that they would have a building, the size of the Rampion Wind Farm building (they of the Clean Green brigade!) but the building will be built north to south on the farthest end of this piece of land, as their ‘bagging plant’. I then asked if this would be taken out by ship?

She replied: “No it will be taken out by road, once the Port Access Road has been completed, with approximately 100+ lorry movements, over a 24hr period, taking the sand, ballast and aggregates out!” I asked how many jobs this might create, and was told about 20 jobs working shifts covering the 24-hour period.

I then asked when they would be putting in for Planning Permission?

She replied that Brett had already got planning permission.

When I asked if that was from Newhaven Town Council, she replied: “No we don’t need to go to NTC as we already have planning permission from ESCC”!

At that point I told her I knew this had to go to Newhaven Planning first, and then to Lewes District Council Planning, before it ever got to ESCC.

I therefore put it to you, the constituents of Newhaven, Seaford, and our surrounding towns and villages, that this was a ‘done deal’!

Our only beach area will be polluted with dust from aggregates being unloaded. The flats and the pub, on the West Beach area, will have pollutant dust blowing into their properties, and their beautiful views of the whole of Seaford Bay obliterated, by this monstrous plant, not to mention noise from this plant and the associated lorries, 24 hours a day!

There has been no thought to an aggregates plant being placed farther down the river, to the other side of the ferry berth, where it could be offloaded, and taken out from the ‘defunct’ Harbour Station’.

Network Rail could take out 100 lorry loads of sand, ballast etc. by rail at night, to anywhere in the South East, and way beyond, with no lorries in sight, no pollution from diesel, and no congestion / damage to road surfaces.

Again, I believe our County Council Planning are not fit for purpose.

I was told Planning Permission was granted on that dreadful day, 20 months ago!

A spokesperson for East Sussex County Council responded: “The role of the planning committee is to judge applications on a case by case basis against relevant national and local planning policy and other material planning considerations.

“This application, as with most planning applications of this nature, included an environmental impact assessment which was scrutinised by officers to inform recommendations to members of the planning committee.

“In making its decision, the committee considered the report by planning officers, the views expressed by all of those who addressed the Committee and the representations made by members of the public and interested organisations.

“We strongly refute the claim that any decision was taken on the application prior to it being considered by the Planning Committee on July 25.” A spokesperson for Brett Aggregates also denied the claim. He said: “We strongly refute any claims that the Brett development in Newhaven was pre-determined.

“We followed all aspects of the planning process in an open manner and did not know the decision until the planning committee vote was taken on 25 July 2018.”