I could not believe what I was seeing on the front page of your April 27 copy of Sussex Express, that Lewes District Council is to waste £100,000 on what they call a transport hub interchange, at Newhaven Town Station with two bus stops, a taxi rank and drop off point.
It wasn’t many years ago that the council did away with the station car park and the taxi rank, to create a lorry park, which I don’t think seems to get used much. I believe Newhaven residents protested against this to no avail at the time.
How two new bus stops and a taxi rank will rejuvenate poor old run down Newhaven and its failing High Street, I do not know. All this wasted money by LDC is just to boost the new Asda supermarket project, which is out of town and will do nothing to boost the High Street which myself and many others think will create the complete opposite.
Talking to some of the few brave shop owners left in the High Street, they believe the local authorities are deliberately letting the High Street run down, so that the shops close down and they can turn the empty shops into housing projects like what is already happening in Bridge Street. It seems to be fashionable for councils to concentrate on building supermarkets and housing, even though Newhaven has not got the roads or infrastructure to handle it.
I think Newhaven Town could be given a boost by relying on its history close to the town, with its marine and railway ties we could have a visitor centre set up along the Quayside by the old marine workshops, with historic paddle steamers moored up alongside the quay, masted sailing ships for visitors to board and look around, and a small industrial railway running along the quay using the old Victorian engine sheds, perhaps to the disused ferry terminal, which visitors could ride on. Turn the marine workshops into working museums, this would turn out to be a gold mine for the town, look at Portsmouth harbour with the Victory, look at the restored Bluebell and other restored railways. Thousands visit every week. We still have all the buildings to restore. We could make our run down quayside a gem.
Don’t let us miss this opportunity while we still have these historic buildings intact. There could be adverts promoting gift shops and paraphernalia to be had in the High Street.
So come on developers, no more supermarkets, we’ve got enough. Let’s promote Newhaven marine and railway town history now. You know it makes sense.