OPPONENTS of the Bexhill-Hastings Link Road have vowed to step up their campaign of action against the controversial project after a last-ditch legal bid to halt the scheme failed.
The Combe Haven Defenders announced their intention to mobilise a national campaign of ‘non-violent resistance’ to the BHLR, following a decision by the
High Court last Friday (October 5) to turn down a legal appeal by the Hastings Alliance.
Deputy Judge David Holgate ruled that the case put forward by the campaigners - who say the link road will ruin a picturesque valley and harm wildlife - was “unarguable” and refused them permission for a judicial review.
The Hastings Alliance say the road, which will run from the A259 in Bexhill to the B2092 Queensway in Hastings, will cause irreparable damage to Combe Haven Valley, which includes Crowhurst.
The Alliance said the ruling was “a major setback”.
Speaking after the case, chairman Nick Bingham said: “We remain convinced that this costly, unsustainable and damaging scheme, to be funded by taxpayers, is not the answer to problems of Bexhill and Hastings, and that alternatives have not been fully and properly examined.”
He called the road scheme “a needless blot on the landscape” and said the Hastings Alliance will now “consider our position and examine very carefully further options”.
East Sussex County Council said it was “delighted” with the court’s ruling.
The Combe Haven Defenders, who recently held a two-day camp and rally in the Combe Haven Valley, held an animal mask themed demonstration outside the
High Court, in solidarity with the Hastings Alliance’s appeal.
The demonstration was attended by several nationally-renowned environmental figures, including the new head of the Green Party, Natalie Bennett, the Campaign for Better Transport’s Sian Berry, and Third Runway activist John Stewart.
Gabriel Carlyle, a spokesperson for the Combe Haven Defenders, said: “Friday’s High Court decision marks a new phase of the campaign to stop this disastrous white elephant project.
“This road is the first and worst of George Osborne’s ‘hundreds of new roads’ and that makes it a national issue.
“This campaign began locally: as local people we understand the damage this road will do to our communities and green spaces, not to mention the waste of £44million of our Council Tax.
“Local people who have never been involved in direct action before, are pledging peaceful resistance to stop the road from being built.
“But we are also hearing from people around the country who are ready to stand with us in acts of peaceful resistance to block construction. We welcome their support.”
Protestors will hold a ‘newt and badger themed’ demonstration at County Hall in Lewes at 9.30am on Tuesday, outside the next full meeting of East Sussex County Council.
Work on the Link Road is due to start in January 2013.