We have issued the following press release today, highlighting the absence of government final funding approval for BHLR. In the light of the hundreds of felled trees – many pre-dating Napoleonic times, and all key components of wildlife corridors – we think it’s quite important to highlight the premature action of ESCC in pursuing a poor value for money vanity project…..
We also urge you to sign the e-petition posted on the government’s website. The link is in the body of the press release.
PRESS RELEASE – IMMEDIATE 1.2.13.
BEXHILL TO HASTINGS LINK ROAD – FUNDING NOT YET IN PLACE
The Hastings Alliance learned yesterday that funding is not yet in place for the Bexhill to Hastings Link Road (BHLR) and has asked the government to cancel its deal with East Sussex County Council.
The fact that full funding approval has not yet been given by the Department for Transport (DfT) was confirmed on Thursday in a table of English Local Authority transport schemes released following a Freedom of Information Act (FoI) request. In response, the Hastings Alliance has launched an urgent petition to the DfT urging them not to finalise the funding deal and cancel the road.
This places a large question mark over the bluster of East Sussex County Council (ESCC) Leader Cllr Peter Jones who publicly announced in January that “the road will be built”.
Approved in March 2012 by Chancellor George Osbourne, the Link Road scheme had days earlier been heavily criticised in a DfT analysis because of doubts over proper examination by ESCC of alternatives, and huge over optimism of the council’s claims for numbers of jobs it would bring.
Speaking for the Alliance, Derrick Coffee said:
“Despite lack of final funding approval, work has already begun with a determined, massive and destructive tree felling exercise: hundreds of trees have been taken down leading to the predicted severance of Combe Haven wildlife habitats. This week, a streamside woodland wildlife corridor between two blocks of semi-ancient woodland – one a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) has been destroyed. East Sussex County Council failed to recognise one of these as a designated ‘semi ancient woodland’.
This reckless behaviour is also failing to respect highly credible claims, taken seriously by English Heritage (EH), the government body for conservation of heritage resources, that the ground swarmed over for days by scores of security guards includes the site of the Battle of Hastings. E H has expressed a willingness to carry out an investigation though ESCC are at present continuing their rampage through locally cherished irreplaceable environments.
“This is a scheme that is destroying environmental and heritage assets; is a speculative development using public funds; and is being improperly progressed without a full examination of cheaper and sustainable alternatives. It is not welcomed by local and general tax payers. The BHLR scheme is no more than a rather poor GCSE project and should not receive funding approval from government: we have today set up a petition on the government website” concluded Mr Coffee.
Hastings Alliance, Court Lodge Oast, Udimore. E. Sussex. TN33 6BB 01424 883319 firstname.lastname@example.org
Campaign for Better Transport – East Sussex, Derrick Coffee, 9 Mayfield Place, Eastbourne, E Sussex. BN22 8XJ. 01323 646866; 0795 1084436 email@example.com