Fears of illegal camp site at beauty spot

One of the tents at Tide Mills
One of the tents at Tide Mills

Residents fear a number of tents pitched along Tide Mills beach could descend into a ‘Calais-type migrants village’.

Visitors to the beauty spot have expressed serious concerns over the past week as a handful of people set up camp on the beach, despite a lack of facilities.

Geoff King, of Marine Drive, Seaford, said: “I have just returned from Tide Mills this morning and I am very concerned. We have what looks like the start of a Calais-type ‘migrants village’.

“Apart from the red tent on the top of the beach by the helipad which has been there for about a week now, a little further west towards the East Arm, there are now about four tents with ‘hooded’ individuals living in them.

“Apart from the fact ‘wild camping’ is illegal in the UK, on a most basic human level, where are these people going to the toilet. The answer to that is in the bushes where our children and dogs play.

“Something must be done to remove these tents before we do have a ‘migrant village’ on Tide Mills.”

Jim Skinner, from the Friends of Tide Mills, said: “One or two illicit camps have now taken place, which is a pity and not really practical due to there being no facilities whatsoever, and the very fine campsite along at the Buckle.”

However, it is understood Newhaven Port and Properties, which owns the land, is aware of the campers and happy for them to be there as they are ‘simply enjoying the surroundings and doing a spot of fishing’.

Captain François Jean, port manager at Newhaven Port and Properties, said: “NPP took into consideration the increase of campers in the Tide Mills area. We are collecting all the rubbish on a daily basis. By another hand, we are consulting our solicitors with regards to the legal aspects of this, and what can be done legally for preventing the increase of campers in this area.

“All these people are not migrants but UK nationals.”

The land is part of the South Downs National Park.

A spokesperson from the South Downs National Park Authority said: “We’re aware there are some issues and are working with the Port Authority, who manage the area.”

Meanwhile, the Friends of Tide Mills are working hard to maintain the area and a report from their July meeting said: “Just six bags of general litter were collected this time round. We are very pleased to be able to report so far the amount of litter remains relatively low across the whole of this fantastic area.

“This is in no small part to the many visitors who, like us, want to see Tide Mills in its best light, and who make the time to keep the area clear of rubbish. This joint effort makes all the difference and is essential to ensure Tide Mills continues to be this fantastic quiet space for all. The whole area is currently looking great, with a wonderful display of wild flowers and birds.

“Our next meeting is Sunday, August 16 (10am-12).”

For more information, email brian.skinner2@btinternet.com

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