April 22nd, 2024.

Residents local to Lewes Road in Newhaven, have formed a group objecting to a decision taken at an LDC planning meeting last Wednesday to create a food waste collection facility on the site of the old tip in Lewes Road, Newhaven.

A Facebook group was set up on Saturday and already has 260 members, which gives some idea of the strength of feeling about this locally. Information about the objections can be found in the group's Facebook page HERE.

Below is a letter template that residents have sent to the leader of LDC, Zoe Nicholson detailing the key objections. Haven News readers are invited to use this template to send to LDC.

Basically the group believes that the decision should have been deferred on the basis that insufficient information about the proposal was available for Councillors at the meeting to make an informed choice and that the local community hadn't been adequately consulted.

Letter template:

Dear Cllr Nicholson,

Re: LW/23/0750 Former Newhaven Household Waste Recycling site, Lewes Road, Newhaven.

I am deeply concerned that this application was approved in the planning meeting on Weds 17th April, chaired by Cllr Agace. As you are no doubt aware, the site is in a residential area, with the nearest house just 50 metres away, and adjacent to a children’s play area. It is a highly unsuitable location for a food waste facility.

Nearby residents, bar a very small number of houses north of the site, had not been adequately notified of the proposal. Around 100 objections were submitted in the days before the meeting, when locals became aware of the plan, but I was shocked to hear in the recording of the meeting that very few of these had even been read before a vote was taken to approve it!

It was evident during the meeting that there was insufficient evidence in the plan for Councillors to reach an informed decision about the impact of the site on the local community. In addition, Planning Officers were unable to offer more than supposition when questioned by Councillors. There was no clarity on potential noise levels, pest mitigation, potential tonnage, traffic impact or expected odour emissions. Nor was there an adequate explanation of why the food waste will be transported to Newhaven from across the district each day, only to then be taken back across the county for processing later.

Perhaps you can explain why Cllr Agace did not offer the option to defer the decision before moving towards a vote for approval/disapproval? Cllr Agace seemed unsure of the process at this stage of the meeting and I’m concerned that Councillors who wished to propose a deferral were not given the opportunity to. Unfortunately, it could appear from the outside that the decision was ‘stage managed’ by the Green party, who all voted in favour of the plan, especially when key information was lacking and resident’s letters of objection were left unread.

Given the circumstances of the decision making process, I find it very hard to accept the outcome of the meeting and hope that you find the time to read this letter and to look into the matter impartially and thoroughly.

Yours sincerely,

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