23 May 2013
Campaigners have asked the Department for Transport to withhold central government funding for the £100m Bexhill-Hastings Link Road after East Sussex County Council cut back walking, cycling and public transport measures that were originally included in the project.
In a letter to the Transport Minister, Campaign for Better Transport, national cycling charity CTC and the Hastings Alliance highlight a number of changes made by the council to plans for the road project. Described by the council as ‘non-material amendments’ these include diverting and reducing the width of a cycling, walking and horse-riding route accompanying the road and the removal of a bus lane at a key junction.
Sian Berry, Roads to Nowhere campaigner, Campaign for Better Transport, said:
"When the Department for Transport announced it would fund the Bexhill-Hastings Link Road, it included support for cycling, walking and public transport in the agreement. We believe East Sussex County Council's decision to cut back on these measures is a material change that should mean new planning permission is needed, and also breaks the funding agreement with national government. We're alerting the Transport Minister to the council's changes and asking that financial contributions be withheld until the council meets its obligations."
Becky Reynolds, a local representative of CTC said:
"The Greenway was intended to help pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders. East Sussex County Council has now made changes to the plans. These will reduce the quality of the route and provide less encouragement for people to leave their cars at home."
Derrick Coffee, Hastings Alliance, said:
"East Sussex County Council agreed to encourage public transport on the new road, and this is particularly needed in order to help unemployed people gain access to jobs. Removing the dedicated bus lane at the Queensway junction clearly undermines the agreed support for public transport. It's a significant change and the council should not receive the funding if it goes ahead with this."
Full text of the joint letter to the Transport Minister, Norman Baker, is available on Campaign for Better Transport's website. Also included in the letter are full details of the amendments to plans made by the East Sussex County Council.
Hastings Alliance is a group representing the views of several national and local organisations as well as concerned individuals, is opposed to the construction of the Bexhill-Hastings Link Road.
CTC is a national cycling charity, working to protect and promote cycling to create a healthier, cleaner world, now and for the future. We want the UK to be a place where it’s easy and safe for people of all ages to cycle, whatever their ability, background or income. We believe that cycling is more than just transport; it makes you feel good, gives you a sense of freedom and creates a better environment for everyone.