THE WORLD’S largest water park, a casino and a hotel could be built in Newhaven in part of a £350m regeneration scheme.
Round Table Entertainments, the company behind the ambitious plan, is proposing to develop a complete leisure resort in the town.
The developer said it could position Newhaven as a world class tourist destination for the local economy and generate an estimated 500 jobs.
A spokesperson for Round Table Entertainments said: “We are excited by the ideas we are proposing for Newhaven.
“We feel that Newhaven could become a world leader in leisure entertainment and create numerous economic opportunities for local businesses and residents.
“We are totally committed to working with the local community as we see this as a project that should benefit the residents and local businesses as well. We want to work hand-in-hand with them.”
Round Table Entertainments will carry out a feasibility study to assess the viability of the overall scheme and plans to ensure Newhaven residents and local businesses are involved throughout the whole process.
The spokesperson added: “We will only proceed if the feasibility study demonstrates that this project is viable and if we receive the backing of the local community. Therefore, we are talking about a potential project and we are at very early stages. So absolutely nothing is set in stone.”
The hotel development is aimed at those visiting the waterpark. Given Newhaven’s seaside heritage, its impressive rail links, and land and people resources , the developer said Newhaven was perfectly placed to become a world leader in Sussex leisure and entertainment.
The spokesperson said: “This waterpark is envisaged to be a truly family destination, providing a variety of rides for both adults and children. At 1.5 times the size of any other waterpark in the world, this project will be an international destination and with a fully covered and controlled atmosphere, it will not cause an abundant amount of noise whilst providing a true architectural landmark.”
The company also wanted to set the record straight about a number of inaccurate rumours that were circulating.
“We want to give you all the information about our ideas as they emerge and we commit to the people of Newhaven and their elected representatives that when we publish our proposals we will consult with you and give you every opportunity to ask questions and share your thoughts and ideas with us,” said the spokesperson.
Round Table Entertainments has agreed with the Lewes District Council Executive Body that it will only proceed with the scheme if backed by the local community.
The spokesperson added: “Cllr [James] Page [leader of the district council] has been very clear to us that this scheme must be fully consulted on which we fully support.
“He wants to work with us to see if these ideas can be developed, deliver real economic benefits for Newhaven and meet with your approval. He recognises that the proposals are ambitious, but he is ambitious for Newhaven.
“We want to also state categorically that the development of the recreation ground is not part of our plans. It is the land adjoining it that is the site for the hotel and we have not yet identified a site for the waterpark. As soon as we do we will let you know.”
Round Table Entertainments said it considered that Newhaven had a bright future ahead of it and planned to invest time and money in bringing forward these ambitious plans.
“We believe that the town is at the beginning of what could be a renaissance and see the hotel and waterpark as part of a much wider economic regeneration programme,” added the spokesperson.
Over the next few months Round Table Entertainments will undertake a detailed feasibility study that looks at a much more significant range of employment generating and leisure benefits than the hotel.
The company hopes to publish the results of this work in October this year. Once the feasibility study has been completed the company proposes to hold talks with the local community to get their views.
The spokesperson said: “This might take some time, but as a responsible business we want to work with the local community because we think that residents and businesses will be excited by the opportunities and be able to add to and improve our ideas. We guarantee that no work will be undertaken prior to the completion of this consultation.”
Round Table said it was important to emphasise that this was currently a potential development and that no firm decisions had been made by either Round Table Entertainments as a developer or by Lewes District Council.
It said all that had been done was to give the people of Newhaven the opportunity to choose whether they wanted this type of attraction.
Lewes District Council has not at this stage granted any permission for this project, and has sold the Robinson Road site in order to secure the feasibility study and the potential investment in Newhaven.
It is for this reason that Round Table Entertainments has signed up for a full public consultation with the town to last not less than six months to give a chance for all views and opinions to be heard.
If for any reason the feasibility study gives a negative result or the Newhaven residents do not support the proposals then all the land will be returned to the local district.
“The recent spate of planning applications for supermarkets shows that confidence in Newhaven is returning after a long period of absence.
“We hope the area will welcome our proposals. The results of the feasibility study and details of the consultation process will be released in October,” added the spokesperson.
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