DOZENS of protestors are set to march into the Combe Haven countryside this weekend in a last ditch attempt to stop the £100 million Hastings-Bexhill Link Road just days after the land was snapped up by the Government.
The self-titled Combe Haven Defenders will spend today and tomorrow (Sunday) camped out on the land earmarked for development which has now undergone a compulsory purchase order.
This gives the county council permission to acquire the areas it needs to build the five-mile stretch of road between the A269 at London Road in Bexhill and the B2092 Queensway in St Leonards.
The group, which formed in the summer, expects more than 150 supporters to walk several miles cross country to attend its ‘Stop the Road’ rally.
The camp is in Crowhurst, near Adams Farm, and can be accessed from a footpath alongside Crowhurst Cricket Pitch. It is a mile-and-a half from Crowhurst Station. For full directions visit combehavendefenders.wordpress.com.
Among those attending will be Derrick Coffee, from the Hastings Alliance, and seasoned transport campaigner John Stewart.
The Alliance lost its bid to have a judicial review of the link road but has lodged an appeal against the decision which is due to be heard at the Court of Appeal on Friday (October 5).
Mr Stewart is campaigning against a third runway at Heathrow Airport.
The group will discuss how it can peacefully and effectively resist the construction of the road even though bulldozers could move onto the site within the next few months. The scheme could be completed by 2016.
Group spokesman Abby Nichol said: “We urge people to join us this weekend to see the amazing area that will be destroyed unless we take action to stop it, and to learn about practical ways in which we can all peacefully and effectively resist the construction of this road.
“The appalling traffic problems along the Bexhill Road need to be alleviated.
“But the building of a new road - which according to the county council’s own figures will increase overall traffic by 14 per cent - is not a sustainable or financially viable solution.
“We have to look to more creative and sustainable solutions to traffic problems.”
Mr Coffee added: “What looks like a go-ahead for the link road amounts to a massive failure to consider at all issues around sustainability. There will be 80 per cent more traffic on Queensway and 26 per cent on the Ridge.
“The county council has effectively relegated such considerations to permit a road scheme which is predicted by the Government itself to deliver a little over a quarter of the jobs claimed by ESCC.
“It will cause irreparable damage to the landscape and ecology of Combe Haven, produce the worst carbon emissions of 45 contemporary transport schemes in England and give poor value for money.”
Speaking about the CPO decision, county council leader Peter Jones said: “The Secretaries of State have fully considered the recommendation put forward by the Inspector following an extensive and thorough Public Inquiry.
“We are very pleased that he recognised the vital role the road will play in regenerating the area for people and businesses. We are now eagerly await the resolution of the legal appeal by the Hastings Alliance so we can get on and really make a positive difference for the area.”