An eyesore scrapheap which is often the first sight many tourists visiting the UK see will soon be gone - with plans to "reinvent" the space it took up.

Residents were delighted to hear H. Ripley's Newhaven scrapheap will be leaving the town after 21 years, with hopes neighbours will finally be able to get a silent night's sleep - and a new lease of life for Newhaven's industry.

The scrapheap was set up along the quay at Newhaven Port, close to where the ferry from France arrives. However the company will be moving to a new location along the River Thames in the coming months, for more space and flexibility.

The Argus: The scrap heap, lower right, will be a thing of the pastThe scrap heap, lower right, will be a thing of the past (Image: Google)

H. Ripley's rented out a large part of the quayside for storage, in turn leaving little space for other cargo - except aggregates using the conveyor and hopper system between Day and Brett Aggregates. 

Newhaven port manager Captain Dave Collins-Williams told The Argus: "Now they are moving out, it is an opportunity to re-invent the East Quay as a common user berth and quayside, with no one company having the monopoly or taking up all the available space.

"The idea is that cargoes will be imported, discharged and moved away within a 48 hour window.

"Similarly, cargoes for export will be delivered to the quayside within 48 hours of vessel arrival, loaded and exported."

Discussions are still at an early stage, and the site continues to be cleared.

Mr Collins-Williams added: "Their lease has to be terminated and negotiations conducted regarding the considerable repairs that are required after 21 years of scrap metal operations."

The Argus: The scrap metal piled several stories highThe scrap metal piled several stories high (Image: Wikimedia Commons)

Newhaven councillor James MacCleary and Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate for the Lewes constituency said he has been on the receiving end of numerous complaints about the heap during its time in Newhaven.

Cllr MacCleary said: "I don't think many people in the town will miss the scrapheaps. It was not a great welcome for visitors arriving on the ferry and residents have often complained about the noise.

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"Newhaven is a changing place and we are seeing a lot of investment in the town at the moment. New employers are moving in and existing ones are expanding their operations.

"We will all be watching with interest to see what the port does with that space on East Quay once the scrap heaps have gone."

The heap has been the subject of a number of incidents in the past few years, with fires breaking out amongst the heap.

The Argus: Firefighters at the heap in 2021Firefighters at the heap in 2021

In 2022, plumes of smoke rose into the sky from H. Ripley as firefighters battled to bring the blaze under control.

Cllr MacCleary called on the council to launch an investigation into pollution incidents at the site in March of the same year.

Lewes MP Maria Caulfield, whose office overlooks the port, added: "Local residents in Newhaven are very much welcoming the news of the scrapheap leaving the town.

"I understand that the port is confident that they can fill the space with more suitable maritime-friendly businesses.”