Link Road to proceed as bid for judicial review rejected

A BID by anti-Link Road campaigners to secure a judicial review over the £103 million scheme has been thrown out.

East Sussex County Council has confirmed the notices served on it, HM Treasury and the Department for Transport by Hastings Alliance for a review over the government’s funding for the Bexhill to Hastings Link Road (BHLR) has been rejected.

The scheme was given the go-ahead in March, with the Government to provide £56 million, and East Sussex County Council £47 million.

The five-mile stretch of road to be built by 2016 is to link the A269 at London Road in Bexhill with the B2092 Queensway in St Leonards, and run through the Combe Haven Valley area.

Campaigners believe it is a waste of money and will be an environmental disaster, so last month applied for a judicial review.

The Hastings Alliance today expressed its disappointment in the High Court’s decision.

Chairman Nick Bingham said: “This is indeed a blow to our campaign, but the robust case against the BHLR remains – it’s never been properly tested against alternatives and there still exists no justification for proceeding with the destruction of one of Bexhill and Hastings’ greatest assets, the peace and beauty of Combe Haven Valley – now only for a short while, accessible to all. It remains a mystery why, with a very critical analysis of the BHLR by the Department for Transport showing ESCC’s exaggerated claims of the supposed benefits of the scheme, the provisional funding was agreed. ESCC leader Cllr Peter Jones’ estimate of jobs to be created was five times the estimate of the Department for Transport (DfT).

“The DfT continues to withhold its recommendations to Secretary of State Justine Greening made in the days immediately before the budget statement giving the green light for funding. In the spirit of open government, we have appealed for this information to be published. This decision is a body blow for sustainable transport in particular and sustainable development in general for the two towns.

“It now looks as if the county council will begin its destruction of Combe Haven Valley as we know it, in January. At present, we are considering our position and future campaign direction.”