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East Sussex link road delays pass £5m mark
The cost of delays to a controversial road project has passed the £5million mark, a council has claimed.
East Sussex County Council has revealed it has spent £690,000 evicting activists and securing the site of the Bexhill to Hastings Link Road since December.
It estimates that numerous judicial delays have already cost the taxpayer an additional £4.5 million – taking the total to £5.4m.
The activists, who have dubbed their campaign “the second Battle of Hastings”, are opposing the £93million road arguing that it will lead to more pollution and damage the environment.
However the council has said that their actions have been “an unnecessary additional cost”.
A council spokesman said: “To secure the site and remove protesters from trees
and tunnels has required highly-trained specialist staff at a cost of nearly £690,000.
“This is a significant sum but this was a significant protest which culminated in the arrest of 28 people.
“To remove safely people who have locked themselves in tunnels and to trees requires very specific skills and expertise.”
He added that the protesters should recognise that the “proper democratic process” has been followed and the plans have been legally challenged.
However a spokesman for the Combe Haven Defenders said that they have been expecting the council to “pin this on them”.
He added: “The point is that protesting is part of the democratic process and always has been. You just need to look at the civil
rights movement or the suffragettes.
“We are by no means done and dusted. We are regrouping, reorganising and going forward with plans shortly. We are still very confident about a positive conclusion. This isn’t over.”
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 last March.