As a mark of frustration over the refusal of the Department for Transport (DfT) to publish its recommendation to ministers whether to fund the Bexhill to Hastings Link Road, a whole year after George Osbourne’s provisional funding announcement, members of the Combe Haven Defenders organised a demonstration outside the Department for Transport’s offices in London this week. They were supported by the Hastings Alliance, local East Sussex members of the Campaign for Better Transport, BLINKRR (Bexhill Link Road Resistance) alongside Crowhurst and Bexhill residents.
Demonstrators came to present the DfT with a section of a 300 year old oak, felled to make way for the road, engraved with a message to minister Norman Baker, Under Secretary of State for Transport, urging him to reveal the recommendation to ministers. In the light of a very critical analysis by the DfT of the case for the road project, there is a growing suspicion that their recommendation was in fact against granting government funds.
All opposed to the road – and there are many, with 1,100 signing an e petition on the government’s website in the first 6 days of posting – are increasingly frustrated at the withholding of this important information.
After half an hour, and after repeated requests to intervene, a member of the police went into the DfT offices and sought agreement from a DfT official to a handing over of the ‘message on a tree’ by a member of the Combe Haven Defenders.
The message conveyed the determination of the Defenders to secure the ‘redacted’ (withheld) recommendation.
As of today (6th March), the government had not announced full funding approval. Nor should it, with austerity measures grudgingly accepted by many, such a waste of public funds in support of a scheme described as ‘poor value for money’ , and relentlessly pursued without full assessment of alternatives would be outrageous.