Keeping public informed about Newhaven’s regeneration

I was interested to read Samantha Clark’s article (October 19) in relation to the potential leisure developments in Newhaven.

I wanted to thank everyone for attending last Thursday’s public meeting at Southdown Junior School that Jo Pettitt kindly organised and chaired.

The meeting was useful and there was a lively round of questions and answers. While there is still a long way to go the overall, mood is optimistic and I am committed to engaging the community fully.

Regeneration of Newhaven is one of my administration’s top priorities and in the absence of public sector funds we want to find practical solutions such as using Lewes District Council’s assets to boost economic activity and more jobs for the area.

I know that people have questions about the sale of Lewes Road Recreation Ground but the Scrutiny Committee found this decision was made within regulations and was necessary to secure the potential for significant investment.

After consultation I asked that the play facility be removed from the sale of land and a guarantee be secured so that the recreation ground remains open to the public until an alternative use has been granted planning permission after consultation.

I have also said the council must work with local partners on a replacement facility if and when necessary.

I am pleased to note that the developer is looking to flood-proof this area – an aspiration that local people have long held and previous administrations have been unable to secure.

This facility will be enhanced with dog bins paid for by the developer.

If development does not go ahead because the people of Newhaven, through the extensive consultation planned for the next six months, tell us it is not what they want, then Lewes District Council can take the land back.

The waterpark is only one of a number of initiatives that is on offer for Newhaven.

Other projects include a University Technical College, Lewes District Council moving its Fort Road offices to Newhaven Town Centre shared with the Fire Service and other partners, working with Newhaven Port and Properties including on the ground support for the E-ON contract, working with East Sussex County Council on transport improvement and the public realm strategy.

In the past year, Newhaven residents have had more opportunities to comment on a range of proposals that could potentially help regenerate the town – by which I mean the creation of jobs, investment in infrastructure and attract new business and enable existing businesses to grow.

Recent activities, even in this time of recession, have bought unprecedented interest in Newhaven and some really tangible opportunities.

I ask and hope that people will comment and get actively involved in the consultation process and thereby help shape the opportunities that are coming forward.

Lewes District Council will keep its “Talking Newhaven” pages updated on the website www.lewes.gov.uk with factual and up to date information.

I would also like to remind residents that the developer will be sharing more information at their “soft launch” event on October 30 and 31 at the Hillcrest Centre, Hillcrest Rd, Newhaven between 11am and 8pm.

Cllr James Page

Leader, Lewes

District Council