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One in the eye for Hastings


Your item on the Hastings bypass proposals (NCE 19 July) is very misleading. There is a strong belief in East Sussex that this is a bad decision by secretary of state Stephen Byers.

Over 85% of local people, all the elected councils, including the South East Regional Assembly and the Regional Development Agency, supported the bypasses. The decision has been greeted with dismay and anger.

It is also wrong to state that the decision will deliver dualling of the A21. The only dualling that results from this decision is a short distance between Tonbridge and Pembury in Kent. There are no dualling proposals on the 29km of A21 in East Sussex. The secretary of state's decision even casts doubt on proposals for minor upgrades on the A21, recommended by the study.

The only new passenger transport initiatives relate to requirements on the local authority to work with the rail bodies. This was dependent on funding from development that only the bypass could unlock.

We will of course look at how modifications to the Local Transport Plan can help, but failure to deliver the bypass will hinder the development of local transport initiatives and will deny Hastings the opportunity to create 4,000 new jobs.

Bob Wilkins (M), director of transport and environment, East Sussex County Council,

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