Road to nowhere: Bexhill-Hastings Link Road

For the latest on this road, follow local campaigners Hastings Alliance and the Combe Haven Defenders.

Update August 2013: In June 2013, East Sussex County Council approved an additional £13 million for the road, bringing the total budget up to £113 million. Campaigners from Roads to Nowhere and the Combe Haven Defenders obtained the updated value for money data from the Department for Transport and calculated that the benefit-cost ratio had fallen clearly into the 'low' category - calling for the road to be cancelled. Press release.

Update December 2012: With funding approval, East Sussex County Council are now pressing on with plans to start construction work on this road. A new campaign group, the Combe Haven Defenders, has been set up to oppose and monitor the damage being done to the valley. Tree felling has already started and campaigners are setting up camp. Follow the Combe Haven Defenders' work on their website here:

Update 21 March 2012: Short-circuiting the DfT's review process (there were nearly two weeks left to look at alternatives) the Budget saw the Chancellor announce funding for this disastrous road. 

Read CfBT's reaction statement in full here

Update 12 March 2012: As the three month review of the BHLR came to a close, Campaign for Better Transport teamed up with other national green groups to write to the Department for Transport urging them to turn down funding for this propopsal.

Read the letter here

Update 14 December 2011: The DfT announced that the scheme would not be funded, as the department wanted to explore alternative options during a three month review.

The road that never dies! This road scheme has been hanging around for decades, and certainly belongs to a past era.

One of the most tranquil areas in the South East, Combe Haven Valley, is threatened by the proposed Bexhill-Hastings Link Road (BHLR).

The Hastings Alliance, an alliance of national and local organisations, is campaigning against this road.

Promoted by East Sussex County Council, it would run for 5.6km from the A259 in Bexhill to the B2092 Queensway in Hastings at a cost of more than £15,000 per metre, and would ruin this exceptionally beautiful valley and countryside.

Combe Valley

The chosen route passes within metres of the Combe Haven Site of Special Scientific Interest, and the noise and visual intrusion of the road would have a devastating effect on the whole of the Combe Haven Valley.

Why this is a road to nowhere:

  • Most trips in the area are local: 80-95% of cars using the current road start and finish their journeys in Bexhill or Hastings. Rather than create a new road for through-traffic that doesn’t exist, cheaper ways to reduce congestion would do more to replace these local trips with walking, cycling and public transport.
  • The road will lead to more traffic: The council’s plans show that there will be 14% more traffic in Hastings and Bexhill with the new road than without it.
  • Housing developments do not need the road: 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. With no road, new housing is much more likely to be built in places that are well connected to pedestrian, cycle, and expanded bus routes.
  • For thousands of students using the new colleges close to Hastings and Ore stations, as well as businesses relocating to the same quarter, the road would be irrelevant: it would also be highly damaging to prospects of much needed investment in bus and rail improvements.  Students at the new Bexhill FE college, as well as users of the retail and leisure park, are still waiting for the new rail station at Glyne Gap, delayed for twenty years.

The road would also undermine local train services and town centre businesses, and would divert millions from better ideas such as bus services and a proposed cycle network that would include the seafront between the two towns.

These options have never been seriously considered by the council because they have become fixated on the road scheme.

Hastings Alliance logoLocal campaigners:

The Hastings Alliance have much more on their website:

They say:

"To make sure that those politicians who ultimately will make decisions on BHLR are left in no doubt that local people place a very high value on Combe Haven valley, we will be organising activities to catch some media attention, as well as having a good time in the process."

Better ideas:

Independent consultants have suggested that the real issue for regeneration in the area is poor rail access to London. Instead of a £100m major road scheme, the Hastings Alliance has proposed a small access road for the new business park and a new railway station at Glyne Gap (halfway between Bexhill and Hastings) and a new metro-style network of further rail links.

Campaign for Better Transport's view:

The Development Pool 'comments period' for people to send in their views to the Department for Transport ended on 14 October 2011.

Campaign for Better Transport submitted a response urging the government to support public transport, not roads, to better support the economy, jobs, health and social goals.

Drawing on the views of expert consultants and local campaigners, we also submitted detailed objections to the Bexhill-Hastings Link Road proposals.

More details:

Promoted by: East Sussex County Council
Total cost: £85.9m
Cost per metre: £15,339
Amount requested from the government: £56.9m
Local authority contribution: £29m (an increase of £19.7m since January)
Latest information from the Council:

Related news:

One last push to defeat the link road

Will ministers pave over the site of the Battle of Hastings?

Successful rally for Hastings Alliance

Advice for road campaigners from Derrick Coffee of the Hastings Alliance

Last updated: 11 February 2014
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