Sussex

Website blunder 'shows council contempt' for Newhaven

Test page Image copyright Twitter grab
Image caption The test page was removed from the website, but not before screenshots went viral

A council blunder which saw a test planning application accidentally made public has left residents fuming.

The test page published on East Sussex County Council's online planning portal was for "Building something nasty that nobody likes in Newhaven".

Residents said it showed "a culture of contempt" about the town.

A council spokesman said it was created by a staff member and "inadvertently published", but the comments "did not represent the view of the council".

"We apologise for any offence caused and there will be an investigation into how this unfortunate incident occurred," a statement added.

The test page was removed from the council website, but not before screenshots went viral on social media.

Community Action Newhaven spokeswoman Emily O'Brien said: "We are appalled by what this blunder reveals about the attitude within the county council, which is a culture of contempt."

Image caption Newhaven residents accused the county council of "a culture of contempt"

The group rejected the response by the council that the comments did not represent its views.

Ms O'Brien said: "I only wish this was true - unfortunately I think this represents exactly the attitudes within the county council.

"People who live in Newhaven and Seaford have borne the brunt of the council's contempt...This is the final straw."

In a separate reply to a complaint from Liberal Democrat councillor Darren Grover, the council's director of economy, transport and environment Rupert Clubb said the error arose after publishing problems on the website.

"A member of staff created a test page to check if the system was working again, which was never intended to be published on the live website," he said.

"I would like to apologise for any offence caused and we are undertaking a thorough investigation into how this unfortunate incident occurred."

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