Second approval for controversial Hastings road at emotional meeting

A campaign banner against the Queensway Gateway Road that was approved last night (Tuesday. December 15)
A campaign banner against the Queensway Gateway Road that was approved last night (Tuesday. December 15)

The controversial Queensway Gateway Road (QGR) proposal was granted for the second time at an emotional meeting on Tuesday (December 15).

Heckles and banners interjected a lively debate on the road by Hastings Borough Council’s planning committee with police and bouncers in attendance.

Police presence at the Hastings Borough Council planning meeting for the Queensway Gateway Road

Police presence at the Hastings Borough Council planning meeting for the Queensway Gateway Road

One man was even kicked out of the meeting at the White Rock Theatre as all but three councillors dramatically voted in favour of the road.

The public gallery erupted in protest after the vote after continual disruptions throughout the meeting.

Committee chairman Richard Street said: “There’s no question that granting permission of this road will involve a certain amount of harm to the environment that’s clear in the report.

“But as with all these things, we have to weigh up all the different factors and it seems quite clear to me... all this traffic coming from the link road wanting to go on to the A21 will be stuck on The Ridge, Junction Road.”

Campaigners outside the planning meeting

Campaigners outside the planning meeting

The road will cut through the Hollington Valley providing a link between the Queensway and the A21 Sedlescome Road North.

This will in theory allow people to go from Bexhill and the link road to the A21 towards London and visa versa, instead of having to go via The Ridge.

It was passed by HBC in February but a High Court appeal by Gabriel Carlyle of the Combe Haven Defenders challenged the application on illegal levels of air pollution.

The decision was then reversed by the council and now it is satisfied that the proposal is within government guidelines.

But the campaigners disagree and still believe the road is unlawful and spokesman Andrea Needham gave a passionate speech in opposition at the meeting.

“Last week saw the total failure of politicians in Paris to come to a legally binding agreement which could mitigate the worst effects of climate change,” she said afterwards.

“Now we see that lack of concern about catastrophic climate change and habitat loss being replicated in our town.

“We’re glad that three councillors had the courage to say no to this road, but the rest of them should have faced up to their responsibilities and refused permission for this polluting and destructive road, which will destroy forever one of our most precious green spaces.”

Cllr Judy Rogers was one of the members who voted against the road – changing her mind after it was agreed unanimously initially.

She said she had major concerns about the amended proposal to solve the air pollution issue and could not support it, to which she got a huge round of applause.

Cllr Sue Beaney did admit that something needs to be done about car use but ultimately voted in favour.

“I think this road in itself is a vital part of the jigsaw of the transport network which is going to free up a lot of development that Hastings desperately needs so I will be supporting it,” she said.

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