Bexhill to Hastings roadworks continue despite lack of funds

Protests and evictions blight work on the Bexhill to Hastings link road, which may not be built

Protests and evictions blight work on the Bexhill to Hastings link road, which may not be built

First published in News

Government funding is yet to be approved for a £92 million road – despite work now entering its sixth week.

East Sussex County Council is relying on £56.9 million of Department for Transport (DfT) money to pay for the controversial Bexhill to Hastings link road.

However, a Freedom of Information request has revealed that senior ministers are yet to approve the vital funds.

Campaign groups are now calling on the government to stop the “irresponsible” local authority continuing with clearing work.

Derrick Coffee, from the Hastings Alliance group, said: “It’s disgraceful, they’re going round chopping down these 400-year-old oaks without knowing whether they have actually got funding in place.

“We are calling on them to stop immediately and have launched a petition asking the government to refuse funding.”

The controversial development was approved in principle following George Osborne’s budget last March.

The plans were progressed through the summer and autumn before a final business plan was submitted to the (DfT) for approval in December.

Although approval was not expected until at least February, the council sent in the bulldozers and chainsaws a week before Christmas.

Provisional approval

From the start, workers have been met by protesters opposing the scheme. A DfT spokesman confirmed the situation adding that any work carried out before approval would be at the council’s “own risk”.

He added: “We gave the scheme provisional approval in March 2012. Ministers will now look at the business case and will need to satisfy themselves that nothing has changed substantially before giving full approval.

“The proposer is entitled to start preliminary work before receiving full approval and funding from the Department, and this is not uncommon, but it is at their own risk.”

Andrea Needham, from the Combe Haven Defenders, said: “People ask us why we bother but it is clear they still have a few hurdles to get over.

Battle of Hastings

“No matter what Peter Jones likes to think, if they don’t get the funding, they can’t build the road.”

Following the revelation, the Hastings Alliance started on online petition calling on the government to not agree to the funding. In just two days they have gathered 700 signatures.

Meanwhile, Michael Bernard from the Bexhill Link Road Resistance Group, resubmitted his legal challenge to the High Court to reflect the latest revelation.

He is calling on the council to stop work on the road following new evidence which suggests the Battle of Hastings took place on the planned site.

At the time of going to press, the county council had not responded.

See the latest news headlines from The Argus:

More news from The Argus

Follow @brightonargus

The Argus: Daily Echo on Facebook - facebook.com/southerndailyecho Like us on Facebook

The Argus: Google+ Add us to your circles on Google+

Comments (4)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

5:46pm Mon 4 Feb 13

fredaj says...

Just think what good these people could actually do for this country if they used their clear talents and enthusiasm is a more beneficial direction rather than just role playing at being anarchists.
Just think what good these people could actually do for this country if they used their clear talents and enthusiasm is a more beneficial direction rather than just role playing at being anarchists. fredaj
  • Score: 0

6:52pm Mon 4 Feb 13

Fercri Sakes says...

Fair enough. If they can't prove they have funding to build the road then why destroy the countryside there? That's just blatant vandalism.

This wouldn't have come to light if it wasn't for those protesters. Well done!
Fair enough. If they can't prove they have funding to build the road then why destroy the countryside there? That's just blatant vandalism. This wouldn't have come to light if it wasn't for those protesters. Well done! Fercri Sakes
  • Score: 0

9:10pm Mon 4 Feb 13

Sussex jim says...

That reminds me- I am nearly empty. I must buy some more fuel for my van tomorrow on the way to work. The excise duty and VAT I will be paying will swell the already bloated funds the government holds; of which only about a fifth is spent on the roads. It is just a simple matter to transfer the odd £50M to the bypass account.
That reminds me- I am nearly empty. I must buy some more fuel for my van tomorrow on the way to work. The excise duty and VAT I will be paying will swell the already bloated funds the government holds; of which only about a fifth is spent on the roads. It is just a simple matter to transfer the odd £50M to the bypass account. Sussex jim
  • Score: 0

8:29am Tue 5 Feb 13

qm says...

Seems a bit shortsighted to to be depleting a non-existant budget!
Be a bit of a bummer if if for some reason the funds were diverted elsewhere by someone further up the food chain!
Seems a bit shortsighted to to be depleting a non-existant budget! Be a bit of a bummer if if for some reason the funds were diverted elsewhere by someone further up the food chain! qm
  • Score: 0

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree