Page last updated at 12:13 GMT, Monday, 18 May 2009 13:13 UK

Vision for port town in decline

Port buildings
The vision being put forward could reverse the town's fortunes

Proposals for the long-term development of Newhaven that could reverse the town's fortunes after years of decline are set to be unveiled this summer.

Newhaven Strategic Network has not revealed details of the plans, but is aiming to put them out to public consultation in July.

A spokeswoman said the vision for Newhaven was long-term and work was still ongoing.

Residents and traders have called for the town to develop links with France.

'Boats, sea and Europe'

Cafe owner Graham Southgate said: "I've lived here for about 40 years now and the town's just been in a slow decline ever since.

"There is a sign on the outskirts of town which says 'This is the Gateway to Europe', but it really isn't the gateway to anywhere."

Sussex-based writer and broadcaster Simon Fanshawe said Newhaven was "about boats, about the sea, and about Europe".

He said: "If I were in the middle of that, I would talk to the French.

"I would start trying to find, particularly a cultural exchange, because there is a bit of money in the European Union for where the borders meet.

"You need a big imagination and you need not to be cowed by the idea that it's a small town."

The Newhaven Strategic Network includes health, police and local government bodies as well as trade organisations on both sides of the Channel.

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