Despite the headlines, local businesses do not support the link road.
We write as a cross-section of local businesses. Some of us rely heavily on tourists - so people getting into Hastings is an issue, whilE others rely on national distribution. If we were to consider nothing but the financial bottom line, and if we believed the hype, we would be pro road. We are not though, Reasons vary from environmental concerns to a concern about the potential impact on local trade.
The new road will not regenerate the area- but may help people to shop elsewhere. Apparently, after the Polegate bypass was opened, Polegate businesses put up signs saying Polegate is open- because people bypassed the independent shops.
East Sussex County Council (ESCC) claims financial benefits to local trade, so we challenge it to produce evidence to back up its claims. If they are evidence-based, we are disappointed to have not seen links to the facts in the ‘pro-road’ video.
With the commercial mix presumably including some retail, we wonder if ESCC has taken into account the debit side - the small businesses that will close when people shop elsewhere, at out-of-town shopping centres as well as other towns along the coast: a further nail in the coffin of our town centres? And the businesses that have already gone - such as the Viking fish bar in Bexhill, compulsory purchased and knocked down to aid economic development.
While ESCC is cutting services to save money, we wonder why it is funding a PR video for a road which is already going ahead. Finally, Locate East Sussex, funded by ESCC, why not put your energy into getting businesses into the ‘new’ industry developments in St Leonards, opened just a few years ago, largely empty instead of selling off our countryside?
Kevin Young and Shelley Feldman
1066 Cake Stand
Wordsmith Graphic Design
Hack-in-the-Green Garden Services