Petition to protect Riverside Park in Newhaven is handed to council

A petition calling on Lewes District Council to hand Riverside Park in Newhaven over to the town council was presented this week.

It attracted a total of 647 signatures from residents who want the park next to the River Ouse to be safeguarded for future generations.

Presentation of petition to give Riverside Park back to Newhaven town council

Presentation of petition to give Riverside Park back to Newhaven town council

The move was prompted after the land was sold to Kuwaiti developers KEH Developments who had hoped to build the world’s largest indoor water park on the site, just off Lewes Road. The land has since been returned to the district and county councils.

The next stage will be to present the petition to East Sussex County Council, which also owns some of the land at Riverside Park, and await the district and county council’s decision.

At an open afternoon earlier this year, residents visited the Lewes Road Recreation Ground hut to share ideas about what they would like to see in the park.

Suggestions put forward for the park at the open afternoon included a nature trail, benches, improved play and sporting facilities and better access.

After the meeting Jo Pettitt, from action group Riverside Park Community Voice, who presented the petition, said: “The next stage is to await the outcome - although it looks promising - and to present the petition to East Sussex County Council, who own the northern part of the site, on October 22.

“Hopefully the future of the park will be transferred to Newhaven Town Council and safeguarded and protected as a community amenity for future generations.”

The petition was started by a group of local residents who live near Riverside Park and were shocked when the land was sold to the developers.

Speaking at the district council meeting at County Hall in Lewes on Wednesday October 16, Jo said: “Many locals have been left with the unshakeable feeling that Riverside Park, which has now been returned to Lewes District Council, is vulnerable and wish to see it transferred to Newhaven Town Council.

“We strongly believe that Newhaven Town Council appreciate the real value of this well used and well-loved green open space and share the residents’ wish to see it protected as a community asset for the enjoyment of future generations.”

Riverside Park is a Site of Nature Conservation Importance and is a home to rare plant species, some of which are also nationally scarce.

Jo told the meeting Riverside Park was highly valued by residents who use the area for dog walking, running, cycling and going on a Sunday afternoon walk.