Our rural economies are as depressed economically as is Hastings’, but when I apply Richard Tilden Smith’s alleged economic benefits of improved infrastructure to his sleepy Mountfield, he disagrees and launches into a discombobulated tirade accusing me of suffering hydrocephalus. I can however confirm our 1950s well-water tasted a lot nicer than today’s mains water.
Yet, despite making clear I reluctantly accept the need in our overcrowded South East for an environmentally sensitive coastal by-pass to avoid the towns - somewhere - he asserts I am trying to stop the road! My letter however achieved its objective: Richard does not tolerate challenge to his dubious ‘economic’ benefits or justification for his A259 by-pass!
As older locals will remember, the Queensway-Bexhill-Sidley by-pass was planned in the late-1960s to accommodate a major London overspill with thousands of new homes, increased traffic congestion and ‘famous name’ factories: Hawkins/Philips, ITT, Thorn, Still etc. These all closed, not from lack of local infrastructure, but better economies of scale in production elsewhere (often abroad), or through the tax-payer subsidised merry-go-round of relocating to other depressed areas, creating today’s high level of local unemployment, empty factories and undeveloped industrial sites!
I don’t know Richard’s profession, but his assertion that ‘economists will shudder in disbelief’ at my comments made me laugh! It is the accepted nature of the many diverse economic theories that if you ask two economists (or politicians) the same question, you get three entirely different answers - as we witness regularly on ‘Daily Politics’, PMQs or ‘The Economist’.
Richard has achieved his personal ambition (hopefully constrained to south of his A259 by-pass), but given his predilection for covering thousands of acres of prime agricultural land with yet more homes, dualled roads and a massive Rother Valley reservoir just to satisfy property developers and the politicians’ dubious ‘economic benefits’, I wonder how much of our treasured AONB and SSSIs will be left for future generations?
I, in trepidation, await Richard’s considered response!
Barry M Jones
Bixley Lane, Beckley, RYE