Port Development Proposals and Public Exhibition
Background and Port Masterplan
In January 2012, Newhaven Port and Properties Ltd (‘NPP’) published its Port Masterplan, which was based on 3 years of exhaustive studies, analysis and extensive local consultation. The Port Masterplan was accepted and strongly endorsed by all major consultees and local Councils, and referred to as an example of good practice in the Ports Review carried out recently by the UK Government.
One of the Port Masterplan’s strategic objectives is to invest in infrastructure to establish a clean technology and renewable energy business cluster, building on the opportunities in renewable energy, including the development of new infrastructure to support operation & maintenance (O&M) for offshore wind on the East Quay. The East Quay for this purpose includes all of the land which has been allocated for a number of years as ‘port expansion land’ in the local structural plans, and to which the East Sussex County Council is planning to construct a new access road (the ‘Port Access Road’) as part of the development of Newhaven’s ‘Eastside’.
New Port Facilities
The recent decision by the Planning Inspectorate to consent the Rampion project is very much welcomed by NPP; the development of E.ON’s Rampion offshore wind farm represents a very major investment in the Newhaven area. We are grateful to East Sussex County Council (ESCC), Lewes District Council (LDC), Newhaven Town Council (NTC), South Downs National Park Authority (SDNPA) and Seaford Town Council (STC) for the support they have given during this process, which should help to maximise the economic benefits and jobs for local people from this large infrastructure project.
In order to service the Rampion O&M activities, NPP will be replacing two existing, but rather rundown buildings on East Quay – the port authority and engineering building, and the port control building – with a new administration and engineering centre for E.ON and a new port authority and port control building. The new buildings will be considerably more attractive than the ones they are replacing.
NPP is also seeing increased interest from companies that wish to have a base in the port, and is also proposing to extend the engineering sheds at the rear (east side) of the East Quay (known as the ‘barn’ area).
NPP also has a commercial and strategic need to increase the amount of marine traffic using the port, after many years of declining volumes, but it has very limited available quayside space with which to support this.
Therefore, NPP is submitting a planning application to build a new, multi-purpose, quayside of maximum length of 300 metres at the southern end of the port, which will also have the benefit of widening the current restricted access to the inner harbour and ferry terminal. The new quayside, if approved, will be used for the mooring and handling of a variety of vessels and cargoes and could potentially be a future replacement for the existing ferry terminal.
Associated with the new quayside, and part of the same planning application, NPP is proposing to clear and level some of the land behind it to provide a flat area for the management of cargoes and associated port activities – this area is referred to as the Land Development Area. The maximum area that will be cleared is approximately 3 hectares. This does not include the area that will be the location of the southern end of the new Port Access Road. None of the proposed area is within, or adjacent to, the South Downs National Park or the Tide Mills archaeological site.
In order to carry out the proposed works it will be necessary to divert part of one existing footpath, but the proposed new route will provide more direct access to the foreshore and the East Pier, which will remain open for walkers and fishermen.
Development Work and Statutory Consultations
Between 2012 and 2013 NPP carried out a large number of geotechnical, environmental and engineering studies and in the autumn of 2013 produced an Environmental Scoping Report for the proposed new quayside and land development area. This was discussed in a series of consultations with the Marine Management Organisation (MMO), SDNPA, the Environment Agency (EA), Natural England (NE), ESCC, LDC, and NTC. Their comments were taken into account and a decision was taken to submit a planning application for the new facilities. NPP appointed Royal Haskoning DHV to carry out a full Environmental Impact Assessment and engineering design, and TB Partners as Project Managers. The consent applications will be submitted in Q4 2014.
In February 2014 the ESCC, LDC, NTC, SDNPA, STC and NPP signed a Strategic Cooperation Agreement to work together to bring this important infrastructure project to completion, and the ESCC, LDC, NTC, SDNPA and NPP signed a Planning Performance Agreement which commits all parties to work to a prescribed timetable to achieve planning consent – subject to all material concerns being met.
The project also enjoys support from the Department for Transport, Department of Energy and Climate Change, and Department of Business, Innovation and Skills and from both the Coast to Capital and the South East Local Enterprise Partnerships – where it is part of the longer-term plans for local and regional regeneration.
Provision of the new port facilities will hopefully bring another round of marine and renewable energy companies to Newhaven and – during the construction and operation of the new facilities – is estimated will generate a further 150 direct and indirect jobs.
NPP is running a Public Consultation on 14th October from 14.00 to 20.00 at the Hillcrest Centre in Newhaven. Details of the plans and proposals will be available, and key staff from NPP, Royal HaskoningDHV, and TB Partners will be on hand to answer any questions.
NPP encourages as many people as possible to come to the Public Consultation and to discuss the proposals with them at that time.