Highways depots at Sidley and Cripps Corner are both set to close as the county council is planning a new replacement facility in Hastings.
Originally the council had planned to only close the Cripps Corner depot, putting aside £1.3m to expand and modernise the Sidley depot in 2010.
But, at a meeting on Monday (October 15), the council’s lead member for transport and environment Cllr Nick Bennett heard how an expanded depot at Sidley is no longer considered able to meet modern standards without major investment.
Officers instead recommended the building of a new facility on a green field site at the junction of Queensway and Crowhurst Road in Hastings. The 1.67m facility would replace both the Sidley and Cripps Corner depots, officers said.
Approving the reallocation of £370,000 from the 2019/20 highways maintenance budget, Cllr Bennett (Con, Arlington, East Hoathly and Hellingly) said: “I understand why the depot is necessary. I’m happy to approve the recommendations and carry on with Queensway.”
According to an officer’s report on the project, any expansion of the Sidley depot would require ‘significant environmental mitigation measures’ as it is very close to both a large residential area and a nearby waterway.
The report said: “While operational hours are prescribed, the nature of highway work is such that emergency and other out of hours activities need to be undertaken outside of these hours, which result in complaints about noise, dust and smell.
“The depot is also subject to regular inspections from the Environment Agency who monitor the adjacent water course with concerns about leaching from the nearby salt and fuel stores.
“In short the current facilities cannot meet modern environmental management requirements without significant ongoing operational and maintenance challenges and there is now a real risk that operational activities will have to cease in the future including winter salting.”
The report added that the construction of a new facility at Queensway is expected to cost around £1.67m – which officers say would be comparatively cheaper than expanding the Sidley depot.
The council would also benefit from the sale of the Cripps Corner and Sidley sites, the report said.