Local council backs out of a High Court case and agrees to cancel permission for the illegally polluting Queensway Gateway Road.
News just in: Hastings Borough Council has accepted that it made an error of law in granting planning permission for the £15 million Queensway Gateway road, and has agreed to cancel the permission. The court case due for Thursday 25 June will no longer need to go ahead.
When the road was given permission by the council in February, the promoter's own documents showed that the traffic from the road would have breached national and EU directives on air pollution but the details were not given to councillors making the decision.
A judicial review of the decision to go ahead despite the illegal levels of air pollution expected was brought by St Leonards’ resident Gabriel Carlyle. A few days after permission was granted, tree-felling started in the valley, destroying ancient oak trees and a valuable habitat - destruction which the council and the court will now agree should never have taken place.
The Combe Haven Defenders report on their blog that: "The agreement between the council and Gabriel’s lawyer still has to be formally approved by the court, but we understand this is likely to be a formality."
But they also warn that the road's promoters - SeaChange Sussex - may come back and apply for permission again:
"This is fantastic news for Hollington Valley, but we must not be complacent about it. SeaChange Sussex, keen to build yet another empty business park will no doubt want to reapply for planning permission as soon as possible. But it’s hard to see how it could build the road and not create the air pollution. Perhaps only bicycles could be allowed to travel down the road?"
I visited Hastings earlier this year to see the destruction being caused by SeaChange's multiple business park and road projects, and the massive damage to the Combe Haven valley from the construction of the Bexhill-Hastings Link Road.
The trees in the Hollington Valley had only just been cut down, but now there are already signs of new growth. I hope this decision means the valley will be left to recover its former value as a wildlife site in future!