Website blunder branded ‘an insult’ by furious Newhaven campaigners

The 'test' web page that was never meant to be public
The 'test' web page that was never meant to be public

Residents have been reacting with anger to a blunder by East Sussex County Council which they say reveals a ‘culture of contempt’ in relation to Newhaven.

A ‘test’ planning application worded by a council officer was accidentally made live on the council’s planning portal. The test application was for “Building something nasty that nobody likes in Newhaven.”

Although the test page was quickly removed, screenshots of the blunder quickly went viral on social media and have provoked strong reactions from local residents.

Emily O’Brien, spokesperson for Community Action Newhaven, said: “We are appalled by what this blunder reveals about the attitude within the county council, which is a culture of contempt.”

The group have refuted the response by the council which stated that “The comments on this page in no way represent the view of the council.”

Ms O’Brien said “I only wish this was true - unfortunately I think this represents exactly the attitudes within the county council. People who live in Newhaven and Seaford have borne the brunt of the council’s contempt: on the Veolia incinerator, on FM Conway and Brett Aggregates, on the £23 million Port Access Road, and on Policy E1 in the Local Plan. This is the final straw: literally adding insult to injury.”

The incident has occurred while the planning consultation is taking place for the controversial Medipower Medical Waste Incinerator in the area.

For more information, see the Community Action Newhaven Facebook Page.

A spokesperson for East Sussex County Council said: “As a result of some recent maintenance to our planning applications section of our website, we needed to undertake some testing to ensure that it was working again.

“A member of staff created a test page to check if this was the case, which was never intended to be published on the live website. However, unfortunately this page was inadvertently published and was, for a short while, publicly visible. As soon as we were made aware of this, the page in question was taken down.

“The comments on this page do not represent the view of the council. We’d like to apologise for any offence caused and we will be undertaking a thorough investigation into how this unfortunate incident occurred.”