Tide Mills battle lost

Newhaven port and harbour
Newhaven port and harbour

The battle to save Tide Mills from development has been lost after Lewes District Council approved plans for the expansion of Newhaven Port this week.

On Wednesday evening (August 19), councillors voted seven to two in favour of the plans, with one abstention, after planning officers recommended the application for approval.

Newhaven Port and Properties Ltd (NPP), the French port owners, want to build a new berth and slipway at the southern end of the East Quay, and deepen the channel to allow larger ships to dock, upgrading facilities and creating more jobs for local people.

The plans involve redeveloping Newhaven’s East Quay by demolishing part of the East Pier structure and refurbishing the existing multi-purpose berth.

A report submitted to Lewes District Council said the plans would help regenerate the town, creating jobs and providing overspill space for the new Rampion wind farm.

Council Officers said it was an opportunity to create a modern port, and the benefits outweighed harm such as the loss of parts of Tide Mills beach, impact on surf conditions, and effects on ecology and archaeology.

Port manager, Cpt Francois Jean, said, “It’s very important, not only for the port, but for Newhaven town and the district. It is opening new opportunities for the future and attracting new businesses and new activities in Newhaven and creating jobs.”

A number of residents were against the plans as it means developing on parts of Tide Mills - the town’s one remaining sandy beach following the closure of West Beach.

A campaign group called Save Our Wave was set up to protect Tide Mills and the great conditions it offers to local surfers. Following extensive discussions with NPP, the campaign group have been satisfied the surf will not be lost by the development.

A statement from the group said, “NPP commissioned a re-analysis of their data to specifically identify the impact of the development upon the breaking wave height in the Tide Mills area of Seaford bay, where all the surfing and wave sports take place. Although the data revealed minor wave height reduction in certain areas, it also revealed minor improvement in others. In summary, our wave is safe.”

“The Save Our Wave agenda has been satisfied by NPP’s response and we are grateful to everyone for helping ensure the protection of the surfing and wave sports at Tide Mills for future generations.”

Newhaven Port and Properties have began a reptile translocation at tide mills, ensuring local wildlife is preserved. Capt Francois Jean said: “NPP is giving great consideration to the environment. One of five key strategic priorities of our Port Masterplan is to enhance the natural maritime environment by establishing a public access conservation area on port land.”

Visit www.newhavenportauthority.co.uk for more information.

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