Disgraceful decision

Newhaven port and harbour
Newhaven port and harbour

Cllr Penny Lower

(Seaford Town Council, Labour)

Sutton Park Road, Seaford

The disgraceful decision by East Sussex County Council Planning Committee to approve the Brett Aggregates Plant on the East Quay at Newhaven exposed the inadequacy of the planning system and raises the question of why councillors at district and county level aren’t using their efforts to change the system and amend local plans which so clearly work against the wishes and aspirations of their constituents.

Instead those councillors who voted to impose this monstrous industrial plant on Newhaven and on Seaford Bay, gave hollow excuses and apologies and acquiesced to the ridiculous claims that there were no material reasons to object.

The voting was actually five in favour and two against, not as reported. The protesters under the umbrella of CAN (Community Action Newhaven) had well argued and evidenced objections and were not just relying on public opinion.

The speakers, including myself, used pertinent planning issues.

What price local democracy if town and district council decisions can be swept aside and neighbourhood and other plans can be assigned to the ESCC bin?

We were told that the proposed Newhaven Port Access Road Business Case published two days earlier was not relevant to the debate. What arrant nonsense when the Brett Plant cannot be completed without this controversial road.

This is blatant manipulation of material facts and data by ESCC. It stifles proper public debate about the future of the Port Area and development of the whole town and vicinity.

As a member of the Seaford and Newhaven Branch of the Labour Party (SNAP) I am saddened and angered that Cllr Daniels from Hastings voted in favour and was perhaps the most patronising of the councillors to speak at the committee. People here should rest assured that SNAP has not taken his behaviour lightly.

We have been fighting alongside colleagues in CAN, particularly the Green activists, to prevent the further despoiling of Newhaven and will continue to do so.

Our MP Maria Caulfield assured the CAN delegation when we met her recently that she opposed the Brett application, but her input has been strangely absent since.

The fight isn’t over and people should be advised to scrutinise the Port Access Road Business Plan immediately as its acceptance by the Department of Transport will ensure the Brett Plant is built and also add another blot on the beautiful beach landscape.

It is time the health and well-being of residents took precedence.

Regenerate Newhaven, but not with heavy industry and fly-overs.