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Argus News

Protesters halt new £94m Bexhill to Hastings link road

By Tim Ridgway

12:30pm Wednesday 9th January 2013

Protesters halt new £94m road

Protesters halt new £94m road

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.

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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Comments(23)

Comments(23)

Hoarder12345444 says...
12:35pm Wed 9 Jan 13

Oh for Pity's sake, it's just what Hastings needs, new links for transport. These jobless hippies sitting up trees all day, have you got nothing better to do? There is plenty of Green space and countryside left in Sussex, one road wont make a difference to that. It's been granted anyway, so you're just obstructing the construction of it. And that is illegal.

theleftygiraffe says...
1:24pm Wed 9 Jan 13

The legal status of something means little to a person who is truly committed to fighting for their cause.

Poccypoc says...
1:38pm Wed 9 Jan 13

These tree-huggers wouldn't let us have cars if they had their way! Bugger off!

KJA_Cooke says...
1:44pm Wed 9 Jan 13

As the level of car usage increases it is necessary to build these roads. Take a look at the benefits that have resulted since the Polegate bypass was built. Better road links mean less congestion on already busy roads that were never intended to take the present day level of traffic. It means healthier and safer lives in the future for those who live in close proximity to a noisy, fume laden, vehicular environment. We all cherish the English countryside but, as a nation, we need a less short-term outlook and one where the common good and the state of national economy will be uppermost to ensure a better future for us all.

lordenglandofsussex says...
2:17pm Wed 9 Jan 13

This money should be spent on upgrading A27 from Eastbourne to the Glynde intersection. A dreadful and dangerous two lane road. There is plenty of space on either side to widen it into a dual carriageway and has been crying out for an upgrade for years.

Living in the real world. says...
3:59pm Wed 9 Jan 13

theleftygiraffe wrote:
The legal status of something means little to a person who is truly committed to fighting for their cause.
Yeah you keep telling yourself that when they cart you off to custody.

Here's a tip GET A JOB

Richard M says...
5:12pm Wed 9 Jan 13

These protesters have little or no support from local people. Many of them are professional protesters and not even from round here. Bexhill and Hastings people just wish they would clear off.

John Steed says...
6:42pm Wed 9 Jan 13

the overwhelming majority of residents and motorists want this road, its years overdue and will bring signifigant benefits to the area, the public have spoken so why do these unwanted load of tree huggers want to put the oar in? no doubt they are in the trees because they are deaf to reason and blind to the obvious

Paul_M says...
7:59pm Wed 9 Jan 13

20 years ago, the people of Newbury were saying much the same as I am reading here. They absolutely had to have a bypass, to ease congestion, boost the economy etc etc. Today, they are complaining that the centre of Newbury is worse than it was before the bypass was built.

The roads lobby is a ravenous, insatiable monster. You can feed it as fast as you like, its hunger never wanes. In no time at all the problems the road was supposed to solve will be back, in spades.

You clearly don't know about induced demand, When you build a road, it attracts new users who somehow managed to live without it before it was built. The road will have greedy eyes sizing up the land around it to build yet more boxy little houses that can only be accessed by car because they are nowhere near a railway station or bus stop, a shop or a school or pub, and are way too thinly spread.

Instead, you could just say "No, you can't have your new road, you will just have to learn how to make better use of the existing one". Congestion, pollution, danger for children, obesity, diabetes, all come from out car-dependent society.

And come on! £94m! ARe you really saying there aren't better uses for such a sum of money? How about we start to look after our elderly properly?

suzyw1 says...
8:45pm Wed 9 Jan 13

Richard M wrote:
These protesters have little or no support from local people. Many of them are professional protesters and not even from round here. Bexhill and Hastings people just wish they would clear off.
I'm local and they do have my support, sorry. I don't think the new road will reduce traffic on the current road in the long-term. Part of the follow-on development will see a new housing development in northeast Bexhill. As this is just to the west of Pebsham this could easily add more traffic to the current road into Hastings.

suzyw1 says...
8:52pm Wed 9 Jan 13

Hoarder12345444 wrote:
Oh for Pity's sake, it's just what Hastings needs, new links for transport. These jobless hippies sitting up trees all day, have you got nothing better to do? There is plenty of Green space and countryside left in Sussex, one road wont make a difference to that. It's been granted anyway, so you're just obstructing the construction of it. And that is illegal.
I am particularly fed up with this attitude 'there is plenty of Green space and countryside left in Sussex'. This bit is local and lots of people can actually get to it without having to jump into a car to get there.

upsidedowntuctuc says...
10:46pm Wed 9 Jan 13

The great unwashed are bothering Hastings residents rather than the Brighton ones.

Living in the real world. says...
10:59pm Wed 9 Jan 13

suzyw1 wrote:
Richard M wrote:
These protesters have little or no support from local people. Many of them are professional protesters and not even from round here. Bexhill and Hastings people just wish they would clear off.
I'm local and they do have my support, sorry. I don't think the new road will reduce traffic on the current road in the long-term. Part of the follow-on development will see a new housing development in northeast Bexhill. As this is just to the west of Pebsham this could easily add more traffic to the current road into Hastings.
Hmmm why do I somehow think that you're not a local to this area at all?

Nice try hippy.

suzyw1 says...
11:22pm Wed 9 Jan 13

Richard M: sorry, very local. De la Warr Road is two minutes from my door and if I turn the other way I can head out through Pebsham into the countryside towards Crowhurst.

suzyw1 says...
11:59pm Wed 9 Jan 13

oops, that should have been addressed to 'Living in the real world'

s_james says...
9:09am Thu 10 Jan 13

The purpose of this road is not just to relieve congestion. It is crucial to free up land for essential new housing and employment land, both of which are urgently needed in both Hastings and the wider region. Resisting the road is resisting the future prosperity of one of the most economically depressed towns in the south east. Although the route will cut across the Combe Valley, it avoids the protected SSSI.

Hoarder12345444 says...
9:38am Thu 10 Jan 13

suzyw1 wrote:
Hoarder12345444 wrote:
Oh for Pity's sake, it's just what Hastings needs, new links for transport. These jobless hippies sitting up trees all day, have you got nothing better to do? There is plenty of Green space and countryside left in Sussex, one road wont make a difference to that. It's been granted anyway, so you're just obstructing the construction of it. And that is illegal.
I am particularly fed up with this attitude 'there is plenty of Green space and countryside left in Sussex'. This bit is local and lots of people can actually get to it without having to jump into a car to get there.
What? How does that make sense? Oh I see, it's because it's close to where you live. The Sussex Countryside is vast and very unspoilt, there aren't that many main roads through it to be honest, we are quite lucky. One road won't make any difference at all. You can still go and play in the fields of glory.

redwing says...
11:03am Thu 10 Jan 13

Paul_M wrote:
20 years ago, the people of Newbury were saying much the same as I am reading here. They absolutely had to have a bypass, to ease congestion, boost the economy etc etc. Today, they are complaining that the centre of Newbury is worse than it was before the bypass was built.

The roads lobby is a ravenous, insatiable monster. You can feed it as fast as you like, its hunger never wanes. In no time at all the problems the road was supposed to solve will be back, in spades.

You clearly don't know about induced demand, When you build a road, it attracts new users who somehow managed to live without it before it was built. The road will have greedy eyes sizing up the land around it to build yet more boxy little houses that can only be accessed by car because they are nowhere near a railway station or bus stop, a shop or a school or pub, and are way too thinly spread.

Instead, you could just say "No, you can't have your new road, you will just have to learn how to make better use of the existing one". Congestion, pollution, danger for children, obesity, diabetes, all come from out car-dependent society.

And come on! £94m! ARe you really saying there aren't better uses for such a sum of money? How about we start to look after our elderly properly?
Sanity/reasoned argument in the Argus comments. Whatever next!

richbexhill says...
1:45pm Thu 10 Jan 13

The link road will not reduce traffic on the Bexhill Rd, anyone driving from Bexhill toward the centre of Hastings will continue to use the Bexhill Rd, ending the road at Queensway serves no purpose, you simply move the traffic and congestion onto the Ridge, which incidentally is the main route to the only A&E unit in the area.

This is all about selling farmland North of Bexhill to build homes and pockets being lined in the process of. Our area has one of the highest unemployment rates of the region, so why would an influx of new people through the 1000 new homes help reduce this problem. We can't even fill the existing industrial units in the area so why build more.

I agree we need the investment, but the money should be used on other more relevant and appropriate incentives to attract business into the area. Why not improve rail links to London and along the south coast, the minimum journey time to London from Hastings is almost 2 hours!!

You can't even argue that building the road will create more jobs, as any contractors involved are likely to bring in siteworkers from other locations in the country and not necessarily employ local labour.

Sadly this is no more than a white elephant where ESCC and our local parliamentarians cannot provide any credible evidence of job creation or benefit.

It is also interesting to read the ESCC had a closed meeting to determine the final budget which may mean that the cost will be higher than the £90+M already indicated, where is that additional funding likely to come from??

Selnec says...
6:14pm Thu 10 Jan 13

The 'protesters' are wasting not only your money as locals, but everyone's money as national taxpayers. That is just a disgrace.

They're calling it the second battle of Hastings. If they want a Battle, let's give them a battle.

I've started a petition against their pathetic antics. Its online, here: http://epetitions.di
rect.gov.uk/petition
s/44214

suzyw1 says...
6:37pm Thu 10 Jan 13

suzyw1 wrote:
Hoarder12345444 wrote:
Oh for Pity's sake, it's just what Hastings needs, new links for transport. These jobless hippies sitting up trees all day, have you got nothing better to do? There is plenty of Green space and countryside left in Sussex, one road wont make a difference to that. It's been granted anyway, so you're just obstructing the construction of it. And that is illegal.
I am particularly fed up with this attitude 'there is plenty of Green space and countryside left in Sussex'. This bit is local and lots of people can actually get to it without having to jump into a car to get there.
I was just saying that there is actually local opposition to the road. What exactly is wrong with wanting to keep some peaceful places within easy access of urban areas?

nosolution says...
11:50am Sat 12 Jan 13

richbexhill wrote:
The link road will not reduce traffic on the Bexhill Rd, anyone driving from Bexhill toward the centre of Hastings will continue to use the Bexhill Rd, ending the road at Queensway serves no purpose, you simply move the traffic and congestion onto the Ridge, which incidentally is the main route to the only A&E unit in the area. This is all about selling farmland North of Bexhill to build homes and pockets being lined in the process of. Our area has one of the highest unemployment rates of the region, so why would an influx of new people through the 1000 new homes help reduce this problem. We can't even fill the existing industrial units in the area so why build more. I agree we need the investment, but the money should be used on other more relevant and appropriate incentives to attract business into the area. Why not improve rail links to London and along the south coast, the minimum journey time to London from Hastings is almost 2 hours!! You can't even argue that building the road will create more jobs, as any contractors involved are likely to bring in siteworkers from other locations in the country and not necessarily employ local labour. Sadly this is no more than a white elephant where ESCC and our local parliamentarians cannot provide any credible evidence of job creation or benefit. It is also interesting to read the ESCC had a closed meeting to determine the final budget which may mean that the cost will be higher than the £90+M already indicated, where is that additional funding likely to come from??
This has to be the most accurate post here.Having driven along this stretch at all times of rush hour there are far more congested routes in the county that have a more pressing need for a new road.In fact Hastings has to be one of the least congested routes in the whole of East Sussex,other road schemes have been shelved due to cutbacks but then they haven't had new housing estates in the pipeline to pay for them in the long run.There is no way that the Crowhurst area can get developed without this road.Exactly the same thing happened at Bolnore village,Haywards Heath.
What we tend to forget is that all power corrupts and where there is money involved in multi million amounts that corruption is corrosive.Housing developers like Balfour Beaty have been on a huge offensive recently to garner support,they have easily lobbied(corrupted,gr
eased paws)in government and have now turned on the populace who can only see the trees and not the wood...

jonmik says...
5:29pm Wed 16 Jan 13

They have halted nothing, they are too few in number, and will achieve nothing, just a few desperate professional trouble makers and NIMBYS, they are trying everything including tales of buried Norman Longboats on the route, and scares stories of flooding

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