Supermarket to move into historic Newhaven pub

Harbourside Inn, Newhaven.
Harbourside Inn, Newhaven.

A supermarket will move into the ground floor of an historic pub in Newhaven.

The Harbourside Inn has stood empty for about three years after it ceased trading.

Lewes District Council approved the scheme at its planning meeting this week, despite concerns the increased competition from the supermarket could sound the death knell for several businesses in the area.

At the planning meeting held at County Hall in Lewes on Wednesday June 4, the committee explained it could not refuse planning permission for a supermarket on the basis that it would impact on other traders.

A further worry was whether a supermarket would be interested in moving into an area which was already saturated with convenience stores and the shop unit would just stand empty for years.

Speaking at the meeting on behalf of Newhaven Town Council, town councillor Steve Saunders said: “We have got a number of worries about this one, mainly about the sustainability of this new commercial venture.”

Cllr Saunders said there was already a Costcutter on the West Quay and another convenience store in Gibbon Road, as well as the Co-Op in the town centre.

He said supermarkets could open 24 hours and raised the problem of deliveries taking place early in the morning.

A condition was placed on the planning application by the committee that opening hours were restricted to 7am to 11pm and that deliveries would be restricted too.

Deliveries will be permitted from Monday to Friday from 8am to 5pm, 9am to 3pm on Saturdays and at no time on Sundays and Bank Holidays, to reduce disturbance.

Cllr Peter Gardiner (L.Dem, Ouse Valley and Ringmer) said: “We can’t take competition into account.

“There could be 100 retail outlets in that road and we would still not be able to say anything about it.

“While we would agree with your sentiments, it’s not within the planning remit we have here.”

Cllr Rod Main (L.Dem, Newhaven, Denton and Meeching) added: “I feel very unhappy about this. I don’t see I can support it but I don’t see I can refuse it either.”

He added a supermarket operator might look at the retail unit and question whether running a supermarket there would be viable.

A recent change in planning law means turning a pub into a supermarket no longer requires planning permission from the local authority.