Newhaven Port Access Road

What is the scheme’s history and when did it get planning permission?

In June 1994, the County Council’s Highways and Transportation Committee approved 4 route options for the Eastside Distributor Road (as the Newhaven Port Access Road was then known) for consultation. These options comprised:

  • an eastern alignment
  • a central alignment
  • 2 locations for a link between the distributor road and Beach Road

Following public consultation, in December 1994, the Committee resolved to approve the eastern alignment as the route for the Eastside Distributor Road. It should be noted that the northern and southern links to Beach Road were proposed in addition to the Eastside Distributor Road, not as an alternative to it.

Planning permission for the Newhaven Port Access Road was:

  • first granted in 1996
  • renewed in 2002 and 2007, when construction started but was not completed

The 2007 planning permission remains extant. The County Council are now looking to complete the scheme to those approved details.

What is the policy context for the scheme?

Regardless of the length of time since planning permission was granted, delivery of the road is also supported by the Lewes District Joint Core Strategy. This was adopted by both Lewes District Council and the South Downs National Park Authority in 2016. This strategy was fully consulted upon. This included:

  • public exhibitions in Newhaven Town Centre
  • meetings with key stakeholders
  • an examination in public

The Newhaven Port Access Road also features in East Sussex County Council’s Implementation Plan 2016 to 2021. This was for our third local transport plan. This again was subject to a comprehensive public and stakeholder consultation in late 2015.

The Newhaven Enterprise Zone (EZ) is made up of 8 individual sites. Together they cover approximately 79 hectares. It came into effect in April 2017. The delivery of the Newhaven Port Access Road is integral to the delivery of the EZ. It will help the viability of commercial and housing development sites in the Newhaven area.

Coast2Capital – Newhaven Enterprise Zone

What is the current access into the Port?

At present access to the Port is along the residential roads of:

  • Railway Road
  • Beach Road

They are quite unsuitable for accessing the Port. Development within the East Quay area of the Port is constrained by the current poor access to the site. The impacts from the unsuitable traffic along Railway and Beach Roads adversely affects the viability of developments. This particularly impacts residential developments in this part of the town.

Why do we need a new road?

The Newhaven Port Access Road is a key priority for the Council’s plans for the economic regeneration of Newhaven. Along with the investment in the town by:

  • The Environment Agency in flood defences
  • 2 local enterprise partnerships (LEP): Coast to Capital (C2C LEP) and South East (SE LEP)

These will help the viability of commercial and housing development sites in the Newhaven area.

Various economic studies and traffic modelling has identified that the current poor access into the Port via Railway Road and Beach Road is a constraint to development. The Port Access Road will provide a new direct access into the East Quay area of Newhaven Port. This will alleviate the current traffic and amenity issues generated (particularly HGV’s) on Railway Road and Beach Road by the existing Port operations. It will enable the development that is identified within the:

  • Lewes District Local Plan
  • the Port’s masterplan
  • the LEPs' strategic economic plans
  • as part of the Newhaven Enterprise Zone

What are the benefits?

In summary, the influence of Newhaven Port Access Road on the delivery of the EZ sites combines to deliver:

Direct Effects

  • Provide much improved connectivity for East Quay
  • Unlock capacity for 9,750sqm of new business space, linked to the Port
  • Enhancement of the development potential of the Bevan Funnell and Eastside South sites by removing Port-related HGV traffic from local access roads. This improves attractiveness for business investment on these sites

Indirect Effects

  • On the other EZ sites through wider connectivity improvements
  • Enhanced management of HGV movements across the town and
  • A step-change in the perception of Newhaven as an investment location

The Port site is owned by Newhaven Port and Properties. However, many different businesses operate from the site. Others will be attracted to do so with the new road in place. Plus, with less industrial traffic the proposed residential developments along Railway and Beach Roads will become more viable.

The road does not only benefit one party, but many different people and businesses. It will act as a catalyst for regeneration, and for the creation of new jobs in the town. These will bring wider benefits for people in Newhaven and the surrounding areas.

What route does the road take?

The first phase of the road up to the Pargut Roundabout was completed in 2015. We are now looking to complete the route with a bridge over the Newhaven to Seaford railway line and Mill Creek. This takes the road into port land to the south, linking to the East Quay area.

The scheme is 700m of single carriageway road, with an adjacent footway and cycleway.

The new road rises from the Pargut Roundabout. It crosses the Newhaven to Seaford Railway line and Mill Creek on a new 120m long, 3-span bridge and ends at a new port roundabout just south of Mill Creek.

Site Plan DRG 5A928/13/2 [1.0 MB] [pdf]

Bridge DRG – 5A928/102/1 [323.8 KB] [pdf]

Why do we need a bridge?

Other routes have been looked at for the road over the years. However, none deliver the full benefits that the approved scheme does. Routing the road north of the railway was an option that has been considered. However, that would still bring traffic out onto Beach Road. This was always intended in addition to the full Newhaven Port Access Road. Not as an alternative to it.

This route would still require significant earthworks to overcome the Pargut flood bank. It would also likely require the demolition of some industrial units. Port traffic would still have to cross level crossings. Nationally, Network Rail are increasingly looking to close level crossings, or limit their use.

The approved route for the road:

  • avoids any level crossings
  • bypasses the residential area completely

Finally, the land over which that route would cross is an allocated site for development. This means to re-route the road through there would also restrict the development potential of that site.

What environment mitigation will be undertaken?

The planning permissions considered all the impacts. This included the visual impacts from the surrounding areas. Environmental mitigation was provided within the Ouse Valley project completed some years ago. We also instructed ecologists to look at whether any further measures are now needed.

We carried out ecological surveys to understand the biodiversity of the area. This ensures all necessary measures are being taken to protect the various species present.

The scheme includes a new cycleway and footway alongside the new road. This will link up with existing footpaths in the area, both north and south of Mill Creek, to provide new circular routes. Landscaping will also be provided to screen the traffic from view.

How will the road be funded?

The total cost of the scheme is £23.2m. We have committed £13.2m from our own capital programme. This was increased by the £10m of Local Growth Fund (LGF) monies. The business case was submitted to the Department for Transport (DfT) on 6 July 2018. The scheme was approved by DfT.

The funding applied to the Port Access Road is what is known as ‘capital funding’. It can only be invested into one-off capital projects. It is not revenue funding. Revenue funding is required year-on-year to support staff costs and ongoing service delivery and this is where the adult social care (ASC) savings are proposed.

In addition, the capital funding from DfT is only available for this scheme. So this funding could not be put towards the proposed ASC savings.

Will there be any further consultation on the scheme?

We are engaging with key stakeholders and have provided further public information on the proposals. However, there is no obligation for us to revisit the planning process.

The submission of details required by a condition attached to a planning permission is not an application. It is not subject to the same consultation requirements as a planning application. However, when we submitted details of the bridge we consulted with the County’s specialists, which include:

  • Ecology
  • Landscape
  • The South Downs National Park Authority

Specialists can decide whether the final design reflects current ecological and landscape considerations.

No further formal public consultation is planned. This has occurred through:

  • the planning permission process
  • adoption of the Lewes Core Joint Strategy
  • the Local Transport Plan 3 Implementation Plan
  • the need for, and details of the scheme are also established

Will there be any local engagement during construction?

A Community Liaison Group was set up during the construction period. Meetings are usually held quarterly. It is made up of representatives from:

  • the local community
  • other public bodies
  • the contractor
  • East Sussex County Council

  • 2020 – Construction complete
  • January 2019 – Main construction commenced
  • Summer 2018 – Funding decision
  • Spring 2018 – Advance translocation of species
  • Spring 2018 – Submission of business case to the Department of Transport (DfT)
  • February 2018 – Advance vegetation clearance completed
  • Autumn 2017 – Detailed Design completed, construction works tendered
  • April 2017 – Newhaven Enterprise Zone established
  • Summer 2016 – Lewes District Council Joint Core Strategy adopted by Lewes District Council and South Downs National Park
  • Spring 2016 – East Sussex County Council Local Transport Plan Implementation Plan published
  • Late 2015 – Construction of Phase 1 completed by developer
  • Autumn 2014 – Local Growth Fund monies provisionally awarded to the scheme through Coast 2 Capital Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP’s) Strategic Economic Plan
  • 2012 to 2013 – Scheme details reviewed and funding allocated from East Sussex County Council Capital programme
  • 2007 – Planning permission renewed and construction started but was not completed
  • 2002 – Planning permission renewed
  • 1996 – Original planning permission given for the Newhaven Port Access Road

The main contractors of the scheme are BAM Nuttall. Their community action plan aims to engage members of the public. If you have questions concerning the construction phase of this scheme, please contact BAM Nuttall, by:

Panoramic Progress Photographs

See a selection of panoramic progress photographs taken in 2019 and 2020.