Provisional funding for the £100M Bexhill to Hastings Link Road has today been agreed by transport sectretary Lord Adonis..
Councillor Matthew Lock, East Sussex County Council’s Lead Cabinet Member for Transport and Environment, said: “I very much welcome this decision. It is a key milestone for the project, which will improve transport links and support the regeneration of Bexhill and Hastings for people and businesses.”
A Public Inquiry into the Compulsory Purchase Orders will be held in the White Rock Theatre, Hastings, starting on Tuesday 10 November.
Construction of the road is strongly opposed by environmental groups.
Campaign for Better Transport roads and climate campaigner Richard George said: “I cannot believe that the Government really thinks that the best way to spend £100M regenerating Bexhill and Hastings would be to plough it into a road scheme, ignoring regional studies which showed that improving the area’s rail links is vital to attract inward investment.
“To make matters worse, East Sussex will have to raid tens of millions from vital services to pay for this monstrosity because it failed to attract any contributions from developers.”
Derrick Coffee from the Hastings Alliance added: “That the Government is willing to approve £100M on an environmentally damaging road scheme with no evidence that it will bring economic benefits is very worrying and hugely disappointing, especially as alternatives have never been properly investigated.
“The scheme would deliver more traffic and congestion, with higher CO2 emissions, and would undermine walking, cycling and public transport initiatives for years to come. Approving this road, which has doubled in cost in just four years, sends a terrible message to councils across the UK, especially in the run-up to the climate change negotiations in Copenhagen.”
Provisional approval means the Department for Transport would expect to fund the scheme subject to affordability, necessary statutory powers being obtained and there being no significant changes to costs, scheme design or expected benefits.