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Hope for access to Newhaven's West Beach
There is a glimmer of hope over the future of public access to Newhaven’s West Beach.
The Argus understands that new talks have discussed the future of the sandy piece of shoreline with a controversial history.
The beach was closed by owner Newhaven Port and Properties in 2008 amid concerns for public safety.
Crumbling walls on the beach were a health and safety risk and there were also concerns about big waves washing on to the shoreline when ships passed by.
Newhaven Town Council is battling to re-open the beach by getting it village green status, which would force the port to allow public access.
The fight has reached the Royal Courts of Justice, where a judicial review is due to be heard at the end of February.
But Lewes District Council member Rob Blackman has indicated there may be another way forward for the project.
He said the plans for a £350 million water park in the port, combined with the jobs boost likely to be created by the Rampion Offshore Wind Farm, could bring new hope of reopening the beach to the public.
Mr Blackman, the cabinet member for business, economic development and tourism, said: “This has changed the energy in the area. people have become more confident.
“The confidence of the port authority which owns the beach has changed given the energy coming from the project for a water park.
“It has also won the wind farm maintenance contract. Its energy has changed.
“Maybe there’s something the port authority can do which it hasn’t considered before.”
Harbourmaster Dave Collins-Williams said the beach opening again “has not been ruled out”, but would not comment further.
Judith Ost, leader of Newhaven Town Council, refused to comment on the matter.
Norman Baker said: “I have long encouraged the port and town |council to reach an amicable solution. We almost got there before it was de-railed at the last general election.
“The two sides want to try to keep this reasonably low-key in order to not have public pressure and I am here to help if needed.”
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