FEARS are growing that Newhaven could become a “dumping ground” and a “Brexit frontier town” after permission was granted for a lorry park in East Sussex.

Last week, the government gave itself powers to build temporary lorry parks in England without local approval.

Critics say this is to deal with the backlog that “Brexit bureaucracy” will cause across the country.

As the end of the transition period draws closer, groups representing truckers have warned of severe disruption to UK-EU supply chains.

The Argus: Newhaven Port. Photo: Allan HutchingsNewhaven Port. Photo: Allan Hutchings

But Prime Minister Boris Johnson claims the UK is “ready for any eventuality”. He said: “At the end of the year, whatever happens, we are leaving the EU, leaving the transition period.”

The new legislation allows for a lorry park to be built in East Sussex – and the Liberal Democrats worry that as a port town, Newhaven will be in the firing line.

A spokesman for the party said: “They are now getting ready to build lorry parks and other infrastructure that is only needed due to the delays that will be caused by Brexit.

“Newhaven already has terrible problems with traffic and the prospect of queueing lorries in the town unable to get through customs due to Brexit red tape is pretty scary.”

Last year, the Lib Dems warned Brexit could bring “lorry chaos” to Newhaven.

Julie Carr, councillor for Newhaven North, said there could be “major delays” with “lorries parking all over Newhaven and Seaford”.

She said: “There are insufficient refuse facilities and toilets in the town and the car parks to cope with this quantity of drivers, who may be stuck here for days.

“This type of arrangement could result in a build-up of rubbish in the centre of town and a build-up of other waste. We would face similar problems in Newhaven to what is encountered with clearing up after a festival or a temporary encampment, with all the hazard management and cost that goes with this.”

Maria Caulfield, the Conservative MP for Lewes, dismissed the suggestion a lorry park could be built in Newhaven as “scaremongering”.

She said: “There are no plans for a lorry park in Newhaven.

“The legislation allows for a lorry park in East Sussex should one ever be needed in the future.

“But there are no plans for a lorry park in Newhaven or anywhere else in East Sussex.

“The port in Newhaven is installing customs checks within the port and these will be ready by December.

“This is the usual scaremongering by the Lib Dems.”

Lib Dem councillor James MacCleary said he is writing to the Secretary of State to seek assurances. He said: “If there is no possibility of a lorry park in East Sussex then why give yourself permission to build one?”

The Argus: Construction of the Newhaven Port Access Road. Photo: Bam NuttallConstruction of the Newhaven Port Access Road. Photo: Bam Nuttall

In the town, residents are worried. Some feel the place has become a “dumping ground” for unsightly projects.

Amanda Moore, who works at Malpass Markets butchers in West Quay, said: “I overlook the waste incinerator they built here. It brought extra traffic and all the rubbish comes here now. I don’t know what will be next – I just fear for my children and my grandchildren.

“I don’t know where they would put a lorry park. There are so many houses being built and there’s no parking for residents as it is.

“It would just be too much. The roads are already congested and it’s hard enough going from A to B without this.”

Residents think Newhaven has been neglected. Nick Green, a bar manager at The Ark pub on the West Quay, said he has to travel as far as Brighton if he needs to go to into town, because Newhaven is missing essential shops.

“The town is in a bit of a mess,” he said.

In 2016, the Co-op in Newhaven Square announced plans to shut down. Residents said the closure of their only central supermarket would leave “another hole in the town.”

Geraldine Novell, a resident of more than 20 years, said: “A place that was once thriving is now dying. It’s a shame Newhaven is going to rack and ruin.”

The town has seen more than its fair share of controversial projects. The Veolia waste incinerator in Newhaven fired up in 2012 after a ten-year battle over its approval.

Even then people were worried about lorry traffic. Long-time resident Pauline Miles said: “This is the end for Newhaven. Our town has been going down and down and we’re the dregs now. The health risks frighten me. Why is it in a town? All those trucks.”