The arguments

How does ESCC justify the building of the BHLR (Bexhill-Hastings Link Road?

ESCC have stated that the BHLR is essential for the regeneration of Hastings and Bexhill.

Not only would it remove traffic from the congested and polluted A259, they say, but it would open up greenfield areas around North Bexhill and Hastings for new housing and business developments, thought to be vital for the generation of new jobs and hence the economy of the area.

Why is the Hastings Alliance opposed to the construction of the Bexhill-Hastings Link Road?

Opposing the proposed link road
“Protesters at the Combe Haven Valley”

A beautiful valley, lost forever

Combe Haven Valley, north of Bexhill is described by East Sussex County Council as ‘the finest medium sized valley outside the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty’. Yet the same council wants to build a new road cutting right through this peaceful, beautiful area. The road would cause massive environmental damage to landscape, wildlife and heritage. There would be air and light pollution, threats to water quality, and more noise from the extra 23,000 vehicles a day. On the doorstep of Hastings and Bexhill, this area should be an asset worth conserving,
not one to sacrifice to shaky assumptions about roads bringing wealth.

Most trips are local and suited to alternatives

There is little through traffic with 80-95% of cars starting and finishing their
journeys in Bexhill and Hastings.
A very expensive new road which simply re-directs traffic from Glyne Gap to
other parts of the town is simply creating more transport problems.
And of course, local trips are the ones most easily transferable to walking, cycling
and public transport. The Link Road will seriously undermine these sustainable choices.

Increasingly expensive Link Road means more, not less traffic

The County’s plans for the road show that there will be 14% more
traffic in Hastings and Bexhill with the new road than without it;
and they predict just a ‘slight improvement in travel reliability’ –
not much of gain after spending £89 million – nearly double the cost originally approved by government.

The road to childhood obesity

A third of the morning traffic in the area is on the school run. The last thing we need is a new road to increase the numbers further. We need to encourage healthy walking and cycling to school, and to make the roads safe enough for everyone to join in.

Disastrous for rail

A transport study by experts for the government, forecast that if a road was built, the train company could lose much of its business between Hastings and Bexhill – with possibly as much as a 70% drop in pa ssengers travelling between the towns. We need more train services and stations, but although these were recommended by the same experts, there are still no firm plans or funds for any rail improvements.

No understanding of cyclists’ needs.

The Link Road has a cycleway planned alongside it, but most cyclists prefer short direct routes from A to B, as could be provided along the seafront. The Local Authorities seem reluctant to consider funding just such a new cycle path which the charity SUSTRANS is proposing. The seafront cycleway would be parallel to an existing road, would be inexpensive, and could attract significant numbers of motorists to leave their cars at home. This would be incredibly good value for money.

Alternatives sidelined by County Council

According to one of the government’s top advisers, the County Council have never properly analysed traffic problems in the area, or fully investigated potential solutions to them. They simply cannot know that the Link Road is the right answer, because it’s the only pos sibility they have considered. This in spite of government advice that all options, including non-road options, should have been looked at before a decision was made. It now looks like a hugely expensive mistake.

Link Road not necessary for new housing development

A government study showed that the Link Road is not essential to ‘open up land for housing’ and that housing needs could be largely met without it. And without the road, the housing is much more likely to be well co nnected to pedestrian, cycle, and expanded bus routes.

Business park – could remain an empty eyesore

The new ‘greenfield’ business park would be unlikely to attract new businesses from elsewhere. If anything, it is much more likely to be occupied by local firms relocating from existing premises nearer the town centre. Workers would have to find the means to travel out of town to work – hardly helpful to those unemployed in deprived wards. It is quite possible that the business park, if built, would lie empty, with taxpayers’ money wasted on b uilding and maintaining it.

Link Road simply shifts traffic problems around

Of course we have sympathy with those living along the busy Bexhill Road, but we have sympathy too with all the other areas of Hastings and Bexhill where people will have to put up with more and more traffic. In truth, the whole town needs less traffic. Public funds should be used to meet the needs of all in the area: simply shifting the traffic around and increasing it overall is pointless.

Hastings and Bexhill deserve the best

Contributing thousands of extra tonnes of climate change gases, the Link Road ignores growing concern around climate change The council should be aiming to create less traffic dominated streets and more high quality public spaces. Hastings and Bexhill could be showcases for truly sustainable transport, leading the way in reducing global warming – not a museum showing how badly we have done things in the past.

18 Responses to The arguments

  1. Karen Frith says:

    I am a member of the Kingskerswell Alliance fighting to stop a similar ‘ link road’ which is claimed to bring untold riches to Torbay and even bring down crime levels! Devon and Torbay have just rubber stamped borrowing even more money to keep the project live but are cutting local jobs and services. Interesting to see your website and see we have common thoughts and aims. I know it can be very dispiriting to keep knocking back all the propaganda the County councils put out but rest assured, there are still some of us who think it is worth standing up for common sense! best of luck. We have just put up our new website. This one of yours looks great and is very informative. Keep campaigning.

  2. Steve Fuller says:

    If you really want to stop the link road, then you need to come up with more realistic/practical alternatives. We cannot cycle/ walk / bus everywhere it is simply too time consuming most of the time. Plus you cannot carry very much on any of these modes of transport. A lot of people, me and my family included, do not want to travel on public transport ant more than absolutely necessary, it is filthy slow and often carries anti-social, unpleasant or downright dangerous (eg at night) elements. When my family and I do use public transport, we feel it necessary to launder our clothing and shower when we get home (you may not mind this, that’s up to you). Why would any one in their right mind think, ” Oh I think I’ll leave my lovely warm/cool/warm/clean private car at home and go on a grubby bus or train that goes when it wants not when I want” . Whilst I fully understand ( and support as far as I can) the reasons for saving the Combe Valley, it seems to me that an alternative viable route is sorely needed. At present, apart from the congestion on the A259, there is heavy traffic through Crowhurst that is trying to avoid the 259. I would have thought the residents would be gagging for a new road.
    There just is not a suitable route to carry modern traffic volumes through or, indeed, around this area. You must accept that private transport is here to stay and find other ways to adapt, you cannot turn the clock back and put us all back to medieval England, unless you want to reduce this country to the third ( or fourth) world.
    One final thought, I have noticed that during the school holidays the traffic volumes are reduced significantly, perhaps there is some mileage(sorry) in that area.

    I’m sorry for my controversial views but I don,t think your arguments are properly thought through and your alternatives are simply not realistic.

    • Jean Brett says:

      Good one Steve I agree with you’re views

    • nature lover says:

      and it’s because of drivers that we’re losing all our countryside and getting polluted…*claps hands at the selfish bloke*

    • bobster says:

      Building a high-quality cycle track alongside the existing road would save millions money and improve connectivity for thousands of people wanting to make short journeys. The small number of people who are too infirm to cycle, are carrying heavy loads or have OCD-type cleanliness issues can continue to drive along the existing A-road, which will miraculously not be congested any more.

      • Lee says:

        I am sorry but bobster your comment here really shows how little you consider other people in your arguments….OCD is a debilitating mental illness and to use it in a flippant comment like this is deplorable. you are one step away from saying that people in wheelchairs shouldn’t have a car and push themselves everywhere…..In Oxford today they have announced a 1.5 million upgrade to 1 roundabout to make it safer for cyclists, and that’s because 7000 cyclists use it every day! there is no way you would ever get 7000 cyclists use the road through Hastings with or without the new road because there are too many steep hills in Hills in Hastings to make Cycling a plausible possibility for the majority of the population other than the Lycra clad man with a mid life crisis who cant afford a convertible….lets face it Harley Shoot has been known to get the bettor of many a motorised vehicle let alone a poor cyclist!

      • Peter says:

        it doesn’t have to be a heavy load to make a push bike impractical. two carrier bags would cause enough of a safety issue to make it dangerous.

        there is also the minor point of weather proofing oneself and one’s property on a bike.

        so if people wanted to turn up for work soaking wet or go shopping but not be able to buy things then take the bike. the folk against car use really do need to be realistic or is that too much to ask for ?

      • Peter says:

        so build the cycle track and the road will become empty ? I think that was a pig flying past :)

  3. Kevin Higginson says:

    I partially agree with Steve, while the BHLR is not the solution, a solution must be found. Currently there is only one road and one rail link between the towns.
    I remember not many years ago the idea of a ‘string of diamonds’ along the south coast; unfortunately there is no ‘string’.
    My idea would be to use the money to double track and electrify the marshlink so javelin trains could run to Hastings. I would also add in the Willingdon chord (mentioned in railtracks key improvements) to create a faster service to Brighton, (fast trains from Ashford to Brighton). This would create some inward investment as commuting would be easier. Next I would look at reinstating the trams as a guided bus way like in Crawley; there is space to put a guided bus way along most of the De La Warr road to Glynde Gap, and then onwards from the BoPeep to the Old Town. This would create a much faster bus service between the two towns. Finally, I would look at a new Bypass (dual cariageway) that went further north, taking a gradual curve from the Lamb Inn to the Guestling Thorn bend, and combine that with the completion of the Polegate bypass to Alfriston.
    All this would mean, it would be faster to get in and out of the area, potentially becoming a hinterland of Ashford with all the investment that would bring.

  4. Pingback: 14th October Deadline for Comments on New Bid for Bexhill/Hastings Link Road

  5. Lee Taylor says:

    Over the years I have burnt many a full tank of petrol sitting in traffic along the A259. 10 years ago I left the area to go to Oxfordshire (mainly because all industry has collapsed in the area), an area benefiting from the new M40 road link. There have been millions of pounds of investment in the Oxfordshire area because of this road link and should be an example to all county’s on how to turn things around. Not having a good road like this around Hastings is stifling its growth. Hastings needs the A21 duelling the whole way and a duel carriage way linking it to Brighton and Dover. Hastings will continue to die without this link
    Has anyone actually done a study on how much CO2 is given off every year because of the Hastings traffic jams?….I would wager putting a road link in will reduce this dramatically.
    I currently wouldn’t cycle along the current A259….with all that traffic it is a death trap around where Stamco used to be….get rid of that traffic and more people may get on their bike!…As for the trains….people would still use them, the current cost of them means that only the carless use them now anyway
    (By the way I am an economical environmentalist, I drive a Hybrid, recycle and compost…being green can be cost effective and bring economic benefits…this road ticks all my boxes!)

    • We note your views. On the subject of studies on CO2 emissions, the government accepts that there will be 6.386 tonnes more CO2 emissions with the Link Road than without it.

      • Peter says:

        well it’s nice to get the views ‘noted’. unfortunately there were a lot of valid points made and none of them were dealt with or responded to other than being ‘noted’.

        Mr. Coffee seems to be writing a good story on here without any substantiating facts.

        The vast majority of the wildlife won’t die or disappear; they will simply move a few miles. so it’s a pity that a pretty and unspoilt area will be lost but the benefits to those making that daily journey now are easy to see.

  6. Lee Taylor says:

    Intresting….my pro road comments apear to be deleted?…..could this be an admin error or is it NIMYisim on behalf of the site owners?

  7. James Rowden says:

    The link road as it is will not solve the congestion problems by itself due to the fact that the roads to the east of it in Hastings are already at being used to full capacity during the morning rush hour. All it will do is shift the loaction of the ques. Like Kevin I think that the Willingdon chord (trains not having to go into and out of Eastbourne on the way to Lewes) would be the best solution. This is because is would save 20 minutes on the journey towards Lewes and so it would take just 47 minutes to get from Hastings to Brighton (rather than 67). That is also 20 minutes faster than it would take by car (according to RAC route planner). This would result in more people using the trains and then that demand might lead to an even better rail service. Transfering people traveling west from Hastings onto the train rather than using a car would also reduce the raod congestion problems.

  8. Kevin Higginson says:

    Thank you James, for your support. I really do feel that successive governments have looked at the short term gains of opening up more development land, assuming that this will give the local economy a boost. This is not so as, Lee says, we need links beyond the local area and link to London, Brighton and Dover. Just look at the half completed Polegate bypass to show, what governments think about transport in this area. This was done so that all the Hailsham development could go ahead, not to help traffic move. This should be the first to be completed all the way to the Drusillas roundabout, as it was originally proposed, which alongside the train improvements, would enable people to go west much quicker and would bring investment, from commuters buying housing, to industry starting to use the area as places for their business. Currently they will to invest, as it takes too long for them to get goods out to where they are needed.

    I would scrap the link road and use the money on improving the train link and extending the Polegate bypass further west.

  9. Lee Taylor says:

    I write this living after my comments above now that the govenment has all but given the go ahead for the new HS2 rail link between birmingham and london…..I am being bombarded by leaflets from environmentilists telling be that all of a sudden rail links are bad for the evnironment…..The country is in a mes and if govenment does not use this oppotunity to invest in infrastructure (as the amricans did after the great depression) not only will out businesses go but due to lack of transport links but we will be destined to sucum to many years of sitting in traffic jams….the CO2 debate is valid but only tempararry as Hidrogen cars will take up the mantle eventualy. this is about more than just building a road…its about rescuing hastings from the pit its become…I recomend everyone putting money into the stop the road campaign donates that money to the save the pier campaign as that is somthng i am sure we all agree is worth it

  10. Pingback: Hastings | Swimming upstream

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