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The Argus

Protesters halt new £94m Bexhill to Hastings link road

Reported by Tim Ridgway

Published / News
23 comments

Protesters have promised a “second battle of Hastings” over the building of a controversial link road.

Contractors resumed work clearing the path for the £94million highway between Bexhill to Hastings on Monday, January 7.

Yet, as clashes resumed following the Christmas break, activists have vowed they will maintain their peaceful protest as they try to halt the road.

It comes as Sussex Police confirmed a further two arrests were made yesterday (January 8).

Last night protesters remained undeterred, adding they will remain up trees and obstructing vehicles.

They added at least one tunnel had been dug in the area of wooded countryside.

A spokesman for the Combe Haven Defenders, one of the groups opposing the road, said: “The second Battle of Hastings has now begun in earnest.

“We intend to do everything in our power to peacefully resist this road, and urge all those concerned about the environment, the countryside, or the public purse, to join us.”

20-year wait

The link road, which has been under discussion for 20 years and could be used by up to 30,000 vehicles a day, received the go-ahead in March.

It will join the A259 and B2092 by crossing the section of countryside known as Combe Haven Valley.

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East Sussex County Council, which is behind the plan, said it would create jobs, business space and room for new homes.

Most activity in recent days has been focused on the area near the railway line, just opposite Upper Wilting Farm in Crowhurst, outside Hastings.

The Argus: Protesters up a telegraph pole

In one of the more bizarre scenes, a protester climbed a telegraph pole yesterday afternoon (pictured above).

Elsewhere, activists said contractors were using professional climbers and cherry pickers to get people out of trees.

A spokeswoman for Sussex Police confirmed a 26-year-old man from Crowhurst and a 22-year-old man were arrested for aggravated trespass in Woodsgate Park, Bexhill.

They remained in custody yesterday afternoon.

Court appearance

Gabriel Carlyle, a spokesman for the Combe Haven Defenders group, said: “It’s too early to say if this will be the national focus of the fight against the Government’s road building programme.”

Writer Rosamond Palmer, 60, appeared at Hastings Magistrates’ Court on Monday after being arrested at a protest in December.

A trial date has been set for August 1.

Read The Argus tomorrow (January 10) for a special report on the protest and more video from today's protests.

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