A few short weeks after East Sussex County Council was in the national news for near bankrupcy, and local news for saying yes to Brett Aggregates, the announcement has come through that £23 millon Newhaven flyover to nowhere is here.
Of course, everyone agrees the Newhaven port road should be finished, as currently it is a derelict eyesore. However the business case for this new phase is full of holes. Literal holes, given that the ‘link roads’ to join up with Brett Aggregates’ concrete batching plant, and other possible new developments, don’t yet have planning permission and maybe never will.
And not one of the 144 pages of business case looks at joining the road to the new business park area under construction just a few metres away. Instead there is the bonkers white elephant of the 1996 vision: a massive great flyover.
The county council refused to release the business case until the money was was a done deal, even though every penny is public money - our money. So sadly no-one got to point out these failures.
And in favour of this route? Well it will open more new areas for industry - which the business case helpfully suggests will include Brett, and more like Brett (relocating the equally controversial Tarmac and asphalt plant form North Quay – another great decision by the county council – is suggested for example). The ‘clean and green’ regeneration vision is feeling a little frayed.
So who will gain most? Brett of course, as they can go ahead with their concrete batching plant, assuming they can get permission for the missing link road. And the Port Authority of course, another private business which makes no secret of its contempt for our community. But the community itself?
Public money is precious, especially in the current climate. We are devastated to see it wasted on a white elephant that far from ‘relieving congestion’ will create it. And it’s hard to imagine that given the county council’s catastrophic failure to engage with us, that this scheme will go ahead smoothly, without any kind of public protest or disruption.
Community Action Newhaven, c/o Seaford Road, Newhaven