Mr Smith insults the Hastings Alliance in his letter in your paper of 27 July. They, like many others, have been working tirelessly for many years on their objections to the Bexhill Hastings Link Road (BHLR) and have put in many, many hard yards of work and have a very good understanding of the issues involved. Hence their belief that a Judicial Review may at last shed some realistic common sense on the issue. And the costs of the Review to the council taxpayers will be a great deal less than the huge bill amounting to tens of millions of pounds that we will have to pick up if the road goes ahead.
Mr Smith along with all the politicians and the planners in the area seem to think that just because space is made available it suddenly gets filled up with job creating opportunities. They are certainly not in the real world. Probably on the planet where they think 3½ miles of road is going to transform the economic future of an area.
Taking the Hastings and Rother as an economic area together, East Sussex County Council’s own consultants during the consultation process (costing c£15m) prepared a schedule (copy attached)demonstrating that some 245,787 square metres of new business space is being planned for the area. This is equivalent to c2.5 million square feet, of which c2 million square feet are in Hastings and c500, 000 square feet in Rother. However the only part that depends on the link road is Rother’s proposed speculative development at NE Bexhill. Even the South Queensway development, available for a over 2 years now, is still partly vacant. So why build more? BHLR will simply allow for an over provision of speculative business space.
And what are the prospects for new businesses being attracted to the area to provide these alleged 3000 new jobs? East Sussex, Hastings and Rother authorities have an extremely poor track record of attracting and retaining business to the area. Otherwise Hastings would not be in the parlous state it’s in now!
The bottom line is that the Link Road will carve up some 400 acres of green field land, part for the road and part for Rother’s 500,000 square feet of purely speculative business park with no proven demand. Where is the research to demonstrate that businesses will come here from outside the area? The 2000 houses (suddenly increased from 1400) could be perfectly well accommodated on the existing 200 acres of brown field land available at NE Bexhill .
Mr Smith needs to do a little bit of work reading through the many hundreds of objections to the BHLR. He will learn a lot more than simply reading a few recent letters in the local papers from the comfort of his sofa. But then he would probably not want a few facts to spoil a perfectly good, ill-informed rant!
I D Tomisson
Station Road, Crowhurst