Three miles of road across countryside near Hastings was given the go ahead by East Sussex County Council today. Campaigners say the scheme, at nearly £100 million, is far too costly at a time of recession and is not a good use of taxpayers money. The road would cut across one of the most beautiful valleys in the South East. It would sever wildlife corridors across the valley used by dormice, owls and other protected species.
The Hastings Alliance, a coalition of local and national groups has called for a fraction of this money to be spent on other transport schemes which would benefit the local community by reducing traffic and providing better public transport and cycling facilities. They have also produced evidence to show that the area could be regenerated successfully without this damaging road.
Brenda Pollack, South East Campaigns Coordinator at Friends of the Earth said:
“I’m shocked that the County Council can believe that spending £100m of public money on this road is the best way of boosting the local economy. This project will increase traffic, increase carbon dioxide emissions and suck the life out of the existing town centres.”
Derrick Coffee, East Sussex Campaign for Better Transport said:
“We hope that common sense will prevail and the Government will step in and carefully examine the council’s case to see if the costs and benefits stack up. We don’t believe they do.”
Nick Bingham, Chair of the Hastings Alliance added:
“The link road will ruin this precious piece of countryside in order to save a few minutes journey time. Our landscape is irreplaceable: once destroyed it cannot be brought back”.