Eastside development wins against Railway Quay plans – new Asda for Newhaven

Eastside development wins against Railway Quay plans - new Asda for NewhavenWednesday 23 May saw the Lewes District Council Planning Committee decide on the best of the two multimillion pound plans to regenerate part of the east side of the key port town.

Asda and Barrett Homes were given permission by majority vote to create a supermarket, 14 commercial units and 190 homes including 48 ‘affordable homes’ to be built behind the Brightwell Industrial Estate. The store will be 40,000 square foot with a petrol station.

Newhaven notably has 226 people on the housing waiting list and the new homes will be two-storey in size and comprise of one to four bedrooms. The plans also allow for improved access to the port owned by Newhaven Port and Properties Ltd of the East Quay.

Construction of the Eastside development is expected to begin as soon as possible and could take18 months to complete. Recruitment will commence and 400 jobs could be created.

A spokesman said the Asda chain had been considering building in Newhaven since June 2006 but that their plans were initially deferred in January 2012. Whilst they were keen to get under way it was stressed they had no intention to look to develop the Railway Quay site, only the Eastside site.

Over 140 members of the public attended Tideway School at Southdown Road, Newhaven, to hear Council planners present both bids using a large screen projector and visuals of the locations and area maps. It was stressed these were significant development opportunities but a potential timescale issue was mentioned of the possibility of the withdrawal of the proposals by the Asda board of directors if a decision could not be reached in early course. Both proposals were debated at length and the relative merits considered. There was even an option to defer the decision for a further two months to allow for time to review the impact on traffic and pedestrians.

Arrowcroft wanted to turn the Railway Quay into a new ferry terminal for ships, trains and cars and to provide for another supermarket which may have been taken up by the Tesco chain. The area includes grade II listed buildings although planning permission had been confirmed. The plan previously had the backing of Lewes MP Norman Baker and local authorities. The location is closer to the town centre but the Highways authority was not prepared to consent to the proposals owing to the existing heavy traffic around the bridge opening area and likely increased delays and concerns about pedestrian safety.

Councillor Jones commented on the problems with the infra-structure of the port, last developed 150 years ago, given its location on an “unhappy dog-leg by the level crossing.”

The town centre has a Co-Operative store with Asda as landlords and a spokesman said that the trade would likely be affect by a downfall of almost 50% had the Arrowcroft proposal gone ahead. Concern was expressed that the store might have had to close leaving very little in the direct town centre which could itself benefit from some level of modernisation.

In the early stages there had been a third option by Sussex-based Cross Stone with their plans of the former Parker Pen factory being turned into a retail park, nursery and community centre with contributions to a new transport hub. Cross Stone opted to discontinue with the proposal.

Members of the public had the opportunity to have their say in the meeting. The three original plans had previously been put on display to the public by Newhaven Town Council and at an earlier exhibition attended by some 230 people at the Newhaven Railway Club.

On learning of the decision, local resident Mrs Veronica Drake, 65, of Court Farm Road, Newhaven, said: “I wrote to the planning committee and to Norman Baker MP about these proposals. Newhaven does not need any more housing; the infra-structure just cannot take it. Traffic is gridlocked around the ring road at busy times and the constant bridge opening causes additional hold-ups. More houses mean even more cars. If this plan includes part of a port access road, why don’t the owners of the port pay for this?”

Asda promise to provide facilities for free parking for the first 3 hours and also highlighted their ‘Bag For Life’ scheme intended to do away with plastic bags given the environmental concerns in their usage, instead providing free reusable bags to customers during the first 10 weeks of store opening.

It is hoped a solution can be found regarding the other two locations which remain in need of improvement.

WRITTEN AND POSTED BY PAUL HEALEY

Photo by Les Chatfield

Posted by on Jun 1st, 2012 and filed under Business, Business and Retail, Community, Environment, Jobs, News, Property, Retail, Traffic and Travel. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response by filling following comment form or trackback to this entry from your site

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