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?
“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 Countys 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 governments 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 its 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.