Green MEP: ‘Council must stop viewing Newhaven as a toxic dumping ground’

Green Party MEP, Keith Taylor, has written to both the leader of East Sussex County Council and the Secretary of State for Transport to express his opposition to the ‘woefully out of date’ plans for a Newhaven flyover.

The senior Green MEP’s letters come as local residents’ are urging the Council to consult on the £23m plan, which was approved more than twenty years ago.

More than £10m of funding for the development is being sought from the Department of Transport. However, in his letter to Chris Grayling, Mr Taylor points out that there has been no business case made for the proposal and urged the Transport Secretary to make any funding allocation contingent on consulting with the local community.

The flyover has consent dating back to 1996, and Mr Taylor, a member of the European Parliament’s Transport and Environment Committees, said:

“Owing to the yawning period of time between 1996, when consent was first granted, and today, I and my constituents are convinced there is a legal duty for both the Department for Transport and East Sussex County Council to consult the local community on how best to spend the funds that could be made available for this project.”

In his letter to the leader of East Sussex County Council, Mr Taylor added:

“The Local Planning Authority is under an obligation to keep its main planning documents, which guide development, up to date. Building a flyover in 2018 on the basis of 22-year old planning consent shows a blatant disregard for this duty.”

“The revival of the Port Acess Road, approved before the South Downs National Park, which the flyover borders, even existed, represents a grossly out of date policy. It cannot be hoped that the original 1996 consultation it either accurate, timely or valid.”

Mr Taylor backs campaigners claims that the road is a “waste of public money” will increase “traffic and air pollution” and “benefit only companies like Newhaven Port Authority, who own much of the land, and Brett Aggregates, whose proposal to build a concrete plant brought 400 protesters out on the beach just last month.”

The Green MEP also highlighted the County Council’s history of “foisting unwanted road developments on local communities”, citing the huge opposition to the Hastings-Bexhill link road opened in 2015. He concluded:

“At the very least, East Sussex County Council has a legal duty to consult residents on this development. But it owes the people of Newhaven so much more than that. This is an out-of-date and environmentally-destructive proposal that will ensure a town already beset by more than its fair share of toxic air pollution will suffer yet again. Residents and communities are tired of the Council treating their town as a dumping ground for unpopular and harmful developments.”