Brits stage protest to take back French-owned East Sussex beach

A 200-strong group of Brits invaded West Beach in Newhaven, East Sussex, with a protest picnic this weekend - after becoming fed up of being told by its French owners that they can't use it.

The French-owned Newhaven Port and Properties sealed the beach off to the public back in 2008, over safety issues.

It is thought the owners feared they could be sued if a member of public injured themselves on the crumbling sea wall and steps.

The Court of Appeal ruled the beach could be listed as a village green, which would give local residents the right to use it.

But the owners appealed to the Supreme Court, and it has since remained closed.

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The Newhaven Village Green Preservation Society staged the sit-in picnic protest on Saturday afternoon after climbing over the beach's barrier, and the town mayor was even involved in the protest, reports the BBC..

The spot was once a popular tourist beach, and is the only sandy stretch for miles.

Town councillor Carla Butler, 32, told The Sun: "We have been trying to help and negotiate with them since 2006. We even offered to pay for improvements.

"People are fed up. It's beautiful and sandy and the only beach for miles.

"There were even pensioners climbing the fence because four generations of their family have used this beach and they want their grandchildren to be able to use it."

According to the Daily Mail, the port owners recently issued a statement that read: "Please note despite local rumours and antics to the contrary, the sandy beach remains closed to the public.

'This is because there are still serious health and safety issues and the access is very dangerous."

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