27 January: Derrick Coffee from the Hastings Alliance writes about the best chance in a decade to defeat a damaging road proposal on the south coast.
We are quite possibly entering the final stage in our 11 year campaign to seek a re-think and abandonment of East Sussex County Council's truly awful Bexhill to Hastings Link Road (BHLR) scheme.
The road was not included in the big announcements for government transport funding last month, and the Department for Transport (DfT) said this was because they were “aware of concerns regarding the proposed scheme, including its environmental impact.” The final decision was put off until 31st March while the project was looked at again.
The next 10 weeks are therefore the most important in the history of the Hastings Alliance: in that time we have to marshal the evidence sought by the DfT to support our evidently strong case against the BHLR, and then to present it in a clear and concise way. To do so, we have been promised a meeting with the DfT at which, we hope, a minister may be present.
The evidence sought by the Secretary of State concerns "the best approach for regenerating the area" and also "other transport options to achieve this, including local trunk roads such as the A21, A259 and local rail".
Through our quite intense and consistent involvement from 2000-2012, we have a lot of evidence to call upon when proposing better plans to regenerate our local area. We are already marshalling that, and would welcome suggestions as to what we should include. We also need expert help to prepare the summary that we'll leave on the table.
If we achieve our aim for the Bexhill and Hastings area to become a showcase for sustainable transport and low carbon development, that would be a beacon for others to follow and for the next generation to enjoy.
In the coming weeks we will need all the support we can get to achieve that!
This is a guest post by Derrick Coffee of the Hastings Alliance.
The Hastings Alliance is appealing for help, ideas and funds to support its crucial work from now until March. Visit their website to find out more: www.hastingsalliance.com