‘Positive discussions’ ongoing over possible reopening of Newhaven’s West Beach, says council leader

The leader of Lewes District Council has confirmed that discussions are underway about Newhaven’s West Beach potentially being reopened to the public.

Tuesday, 18th May 2021, 4:53 pm
Newhaven West Beach
Newhaven West Beach

The sandy beach, which is owned by Newhaven Port and Properties, has been shut since 2008 after the company said it was unsafe.

Since then, there have been several attempts to get it reopened to the public.

A battle to reopen the beach was taken to the Supreme Court in 2013.

Newhaven West Beach car park

Newhaven Town Council and East Sussex County Council had previously won an Appeal Court ruling that the beach should have village green status.

However, the Supreme Court reached the view that registration of the beach as a town or village green would operate in a way to prevent the harbour authority from carrying out its statutory functions under its enabling acts and orders.

Discussion about the beach’s future was recently revived on social media after a resident posted about it on Facebook.

James MacCleary, the councillor for Newhaven South ward and leader of Lewes District Council, gave an update on the situation.

He said: “As a local councillor it’s one of my highest priorities to get the beach reopened.

“I’m actually talking to the port in my capacity as district council leader.

“We are working collaboratively to try and find a way to get it opened.

“These discussions are positive and constructive and I hope I will have some good news in the not too distant future.”

Councillor Graham Amy, the mayor of Newhaven, said town council had a ‘cordial working relationship’ with the port and remained amenable to discussions about it reopening.

He said: “As many residents will know and recall, the beach is a wonderful local amenity that would certainly aid a return to better times and happy memories.”

Newhaven Port and Properties was approached for a comment but said no one was available to provide one at this time.

Micheal Smewing, its CEO and port manager, previously told this newspaper back in 2019: “Newhaven’s sandy beach on the East side of the breakwater has been closed to the public since 2008 due to health and safety concerns.

“The beach and its access are dangerous and are fenced off.

“The gate is padlocked and there are signs warning the public that it is not safe and it is private property.”