A number of people protested against the felling of trees as the first phase of work on the Queensway Gateway Road got under way.
Around half a dozen people went into the site off Queensway .
We need to enhance our green spaces not allow them to be destroyed.
At least one campaigner climbed into one of the trees.
Police officers attended the scene but no arrests were made.
Contractors working for Sea Change Sussex moved onto the site on Monday morning to start clearing trees for the scheme which is expected to take at least 12 months to complete.
Called the Queensway Gateway Road (QGR) the plans were given planning approval last month.
Sea Change proposed the development and believes it could help create hundreds of jobs.
It includes three roundabouts on a route that could take traffic from the busy A21 to the Bexhill to Hastings Link Road.
But hundreds of objectors wrote to the council criticising the plans.
The protestors claim the development will harm the Hollington Valley Local Wildlife Site.
Combe Haven Defenders spokeswoman Emily Johns said, “At a time when we are facing catastrophic climate change and species loss it is utterly irresponsible to be pressing ahead with projects of this kind.
“We need to protect and enhance our green spaces, not allow them to be destroyed for the sake of profit.
“We call on Sea Change and Hastings Borough Council to stop this work immediately.”
A spokesman for Sea Change said: “The Queensway Gateway Road is an important part of the local regeneration programme which received planning consent in February. It’s designed to create a ‘corridor’ from the A21 to the A259 through the Bexhill-Hastings Link Road to stimulate economic growth and job creation. It will also improve local traffic flows and access to sites that have been zoned in Hastings Borough Council’s Local Plan for employment use.
“Our contractors have been undertaking preliminary work to clear vegetation along the line of the road this week.
“This has been supported by ecologists and tree climbing specialists who’ve ensured no nesting birds or roosting bats have been disturbed.”
According to a report to the planning committee last month the scheme could ‘provide for access to existing and emerging employment development sites which will benefit the economic and regeneration of the borough and the surrounding area and it benefit the strategic road network in line with other future road network improvements.”