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Controversial sale of recreation ground by LDC

On 19 Aug 2012 at 8:47am TheCatsMother wrote:
At the end of June, Lewes Road recreation ground and adjoining land in Newhaven was sold by Lewes District Council. It's an 8.93 hectare site and was sold for just £84,000 after a ludicrously short 'consultation period' of 14 days. The decision to sell the land for a hotel development was made by the Leader of Lewes District Council, James Page without even a committee meeting. More info in the linked letter to Haven News:

Check it out here »
On 19 Aug 2012 at 10:29am Southover Queen wrote:
Thanks for that. I find that really shocking, particularly that the land was sold without any form of prior consultation, apparently on the say-so of one person and without ever being put on the open market. It's an open invitation to corrupt* practices and completely anti-democratic.

*I'm sure Cllr Page will be able to show that this deal is clean as a whistle.
On 19 Aug 2012 at 11:45am Double Topp wrote:
Its Newhaven.... Can't polish a turd.... Needs knocking down and rebuilding from scratch... I think 84,000 They was robbed, I wouldnt pay 84p!!!!!
On 19 Aug 2012 at 12:05pm tom wrote:
thats only the start newhaven today lewes tomorrow
On 19 Aug 2012 at 3:45pm Annette Curtin-Twitcher wrote:
That's scandalous. The price is equivalent to the going rate for good arable land, potential development land should surely be far dearer. In any event, the council has a fiduciary duty to get the best possible price when selling assets and this can only be doen by testing the market and inviting offers, which doesn't seem to have been done.
That they appear to have acted in contravention of their own constitution doesn't surprise me in the slightest. They've always seemed to think they can do what they like when it comes to property matters. Of course, it's entirely possible that the necessary planning consents might not be granted, but my instincts tell me that's unlikely.
Can someone clarify which bit of land this is? I'm guessing it's the playing field next to the former tip, but I'm not sure.
While no-one would deny that much of Newhaven might benefit from wholesale redevelopment, the loss of public open space will do nothing to enhance the rest of the town unless it's part of a comprehensive regeneration scheme. This isn't anything of the sort.
On 19 Aug 2012 at 5:07pm Southover Queen wrote:
I think it must be the tip and adjacent land, yes, ACT. If you google the area you can get a good bird's eye view of the area, and it's a big area in what looks like quite a tasty location - as close to Piddinghoe as is to Newhaven. Assuming that they'll be able to get planning permission (and let's not forget that LDC is the relevant authority) I heartily agree with you that it was a huge bargain.

And how dare the developer 'decline to describe his intentions'? The land belonged to LDC, which means it's part of our community's assets. At the very least we have a right to know what is being planned, surely? Presumably Cllr Page knows: so should we, unless there's a incredibly good reason why not.

Another one for Private Eye, I think.
On 19 Aug 2012 at 9:27pm jonnyboy wrote:
The details and a map can be found here. hXXp://www.lewes.gov.uk/news/20370.asp
On 20 Aug 2012 at 4:43pm Shopper wrote:
Let's hope Private Eye does take this up (are you there Nick?). Page seems to think he is Lord of the Manor rather than an elected representative.
On 20 Aug 2012 at 4:55pm Shopper wrote:
Just a reminder of what Private Eye had to say about the Page regime:

"Lewes district council‚??s authoritarian new Tory leader James Page has come up with a brilliant way to avoid all that tiresome democratic nonsense about being accountable to councillors and voters.

"The Sussex council already operates under what in local government jargon is known as the ‚??strong leader model‚?Ě whereby the leader runs things with a cabinet of yes-men and backbench councillors have very little say. Cllr Page has gone a step further. He has established his own star chamber called the ‚??Nexus board‚?Ě which has just two permanent members ‚?? himself and chief executive Jenny Rolands. Discussions take place in private in un-minuted meetings between the two, plus selected officers on a ‚??need to know‚?Ě basis. Decisions are presented as a done-deal to the cabinet with very little transparency and no public scrutiny. Could this ‚??behind closed doors‚?Ě form of local government be the face of things to come?"
On 21 Aug 2012 at 10:45am Zendojin wrote:
Has anyone checked whether any part of the 29 acres of land sold-off extends over the bounday of, and into the South Downs National Park? Further to 'Private Eye's comment; The ancient Chinese philosopher Tao said: "Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely".
On 21 Aug 2012 at 11:26am Southover Queen wrote:
I don't know if the link I've provided will work - it's the map google produces if you search "south downs national park boundaries" and click map.

I don't think I'd rely on this though, since there does seem to be an isolated green splodge which does form part of the land in question; however I can't believe that LDC would have been allowed to dispose of land within the boundaries of the SDNP without extensive consultation etc, especially for private development. Most of the land in question clearly does not fall within the boundaries.

Check it out here »
On 21 Aug 2012 at 7:02pm TheCatsMother wrote:
A PDF doc. showing a map of the area sold can be found at the bottom of the linked page. It includes the recreation field and adjoining land to the north. It does not include the recently closed dump or land within the SDNP which is further north. There's an area of land between the land sold and the SDNP which is apparently owned by East Sussex Country Council. Concerns were raised by Piddinghoe residents in the meeting that this land might also be vulnerable.

Check it out here »
On 22 Aug 2012 at 6:44pm bastian wrote:
do you remember the" localism bill," it came and was abolished within a month, but in that time it allowed just such a transaction to take place legally within a short time frame. The Tories knew that in one month they could do more damage to our assets than in ten years of meeting laboured planning policey. So if anyone comes asking questions of this snake Page he will look sqweaky clean under the law that operated at the time of the transaction.

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