Combe Haven Defenders plan peaceful protest camp over ‘environmentally disastrous’ Link Road scheme

A GROUP of angry residents who oppose the new £100 million Hastings-Bexhill Link Road are set to stage a peaceful two-day protest later this month.

Calling themselves the Combe Haven Defenders, the group has vowed to fight the controversial proposals for the major road building scheme.

It is inviting people to join them for a two-day rally and camp in the valley on Saturday September 29 and Sunday September 30.

Emily Johns, spokesman for the group, said: “At the same time as health and care services are being cut the Government and East Sussex County Council are planning to spend more than £100 million on a three-mile road that will actually increase overall traffic levels in Hastings and Bexhill.

“While it’s quite possible that the road will do little or nothing to create local jobs, it will definitely destroy one of the area’s greatest treasures, Combe Haven Valley. We invite people to join us at next month’s camp to celebrate the beauty of the valley and explore practical ways in which we can peacefully resist this environmentally disastrous white elephant.”

The two-day event will be held at a mystery location in the valley, with walks to the camp leaving from Bexhill, Crowhurst and Bulverhythe on the Saturday.

Veteran anti-roads activist John Stewart, named ‘Britain’s most successful environmental campaigner’ for his work to stop the expansion of Heathrow, will lead a workshop on how campaigners successfully halted Margaret Thatcher’s road building programme in the 1990s. Family activities, food and music will also be on offer.

Charlotte Potter-Powell, also spokesman for the group, said: “This is an opportunity for concerned people to explore how we can peacefully stop the road. And, unlike the road’s architects, we will leave the valley as pristine as we find it.”

Last month, a bid by anti-link road campaigners to secure a judicial review over the multi-million scheme was thrown out.

The scheme was given the go-ahead in March, with the Government to provide £56 million, and the county council £47 million. The five-mile stretch of road, to be built by 2016, is to link the A269 at London Road in Bexhill with the B2092 Queensway in St Leonards, and run through the Combe Haven Valley area, which includes Crowhurst.