Never in the Top 20 transport schemes in England, the BHLR appears to have dropped out of the charts altogether. On December 14th 2011, Secretary of State for Transport Justine Greening gave the go ahead for 41 transport schemes in England out of 45 for which funding was being sought. (see previous post, 15th December). Clearly not a hit with the minister, the BHLR was not one of them. Following statements by East Sussex politicians to the effect that the funding approval was ‘in the bag’, this must have come as quite a shock.
There now follows an ‘evidence gathering process’, seeking and examining from already published studies the most appropriate measures for the regeneration of Bexhill and Hastings. This process will be completed by 31st March. The Department of Transport (DfT), East Sussex County Council and ‘stakeholders’ – both for and against the BHLR – will meet in mid-February. Positions on the most appropriate transport futures for Bexhill and Hastings will then be shared and discussed. Following this there will be an opportunity for us to further marshall our evidence and then to meet with the DfT to present a summary of our case. BHLR supporters will have the same opportunities. The Secretary of State will consider the evidence and ‘move swiftly’ to a decision soon after.
Marshalling evidence and preparing a succinct summary for Ministers will require expert guidance and of course, this will need funding: funds are currently low. We are therefore appealing for donations, large or small, to secure the best guidance possible for what is almost certainly the final chapter in our campaign to remove for good the threat of the BHLR, and to make Bexhill and Hastings a showcase for sustainable transport and low carbon development. If you’d like to make a donation, cheques made out to ‘Hastings Alliance’ may be sent to our Treasurer at the following address:
Derek Hodgkinson, 34, Fern Road, St Leonards – on – sea, East Sussex. TN38 OVH.
As a reminder of the beauty of Combe Haven in all seasons, including the pantomime one, here are a couple of photos taken by member Bill Coney of Sidley on January the 2nd this year. The floodplain one would be bisected by the BHLR. ‘Oh no it won’t!’