Village green at West Beach, Newhaven, returns to court

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The argument that West Beach at Newhaven, East Sussex, is a village green which should be reopened for public access is to be heard in the Court of Appeal starting tomorrow (26 February). Newhaven Town Council, which applied to register the land as a green in 2008, has appealed against the High Court ruling in 2011 that East Sussex County Council should not have registered the land as a green.

The town council applied for the land to be registered when the owner, Newhaven Port and Properties Ltd, erected fences and closed off the beach. The council produced evidence that local people had used the land for recreation—fishing, walking, riding bikes and playing cricket—for 20 years, without being stopped, without asking permission and without being secretive.

The High Court judge, Mr Justice Ouseley, ruled that the land should not be registered as a green because Newhaven Port and Properties Ltd held the land under statutory authority and this conflicted with use of the land for recreation.

West Beach, Newhaven. Photo: David Garbett.

Says Nicola Hodgson, our case officer: ‘We are delighted that this case is back in court, and we fervently hope that the Court of Appeal will reverse the High Court’s ruling and will decide that the land should be registered as a village green.

‘It is perfectly possible for beaches to qualify as greens. For instance, Herbrand Beach near Bexhill-on-Sea was registered in 2011.’

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