Newhaven Library a shadow of the original plan

It has recently been announced that the new Newhaven Library is to open at the end of March.

This will be conveniently timed to coincide with the run-up to the elections and no doubt the prospective Tory candidate for Lewes will be invited along, to enable her to appear in photos and claim some part in its provision. I will be interested to see however, how the county council’s Tory administration will be able to explain several issues that have come to my attention. Firstly, the building itself was supposed to be a multi-functional community hub with full access to 3 floors. This was then reduced to 2, when the decision was taken to not build a 2nd floor. What is in fact being finally delivered is a ground floor library only, with the 1st floor left an unfinished shell and with no lift access as per the original design to the front elevation. Secondly, the lift shaft to the rear of the building has apparently been filled with the asbestos, that was stripped out of the internal parts, sealed and abandoned. Thirdly, we have been left with an ugly, glass-encased, carbuncle of a staircase attached to the front of the building that serves absolutely no purpose. When consulted in the first place, the residents asked for it to be removed, but again we were ignored.

Yet again, Newhaven has been delivered an empty promise by the UKIP-supported Conservative County Council, whilst the neighbouring Tory-led Seaford has had a state of the art building designed built and delivered in half the time Newhaven has had to wait for barely half a facility. If this is what they call regeneration and support for Newhaven and its residents, I dread to think what else they have in mind. Their incinerator has resulted in a myriad of waste companies congregating around it and the associated piles of rubbish enveloping the residents in smoke and ash, as they catch fire. The UKIP County Councillor in who’s ward the recent fire falls, was conspicuous by his lack of comment and action over the incident. Their preposterous advice over traffic modelling meant that the wrong application at Eastside was approved in 2013 and even this has now fallen through after ASDA withdrew support for the developer and the scheme. The new Fire Station has yet to get started too, but should we be surprised? The Tories did after all give the role of Chair of the Fire Authority to their UKIP colleagues. They closed Grays School in Western Road and squeezed hundreds of children into the site at Church Hill, but have now decided they need more school places! You’d have though with access to the birth rate details and the knowledge and the hundreds of homes planned for the town may have children living in them, that they may have had some idea of this need some time ago. Could it be that they are more interested in selling off the assets to their friends in business, for a quick profit?

The frustration of the residents of Newhaven is at boiling point. I just hope the residents understand where the blame lies and with who’s political ideology.

Steve Saunders (Lib Dem)

Newhaven Valley District and Town Councillor