REGARDING the Link Road, Robert Mitchell (Letters, August 2), says, ‘We have fought for this road for so long and it cannot be right that its
cost should be increased carelessly’.
He is right that the costs are being increased carelessly - by East Sussex County Council. In 2002, the total cost of the road was assessed as £24 million. Now it is £13 million, and the costs are likely to continue to increase over the next two years.
In terms of paying for it, the county council would appear to have an open wallet policy with public money.
With the recent £13 million increase in cost, the road is now ‘low’ value for money: Department for Transport guidelines are that it should only fund projects which are ‘high’ or ‘very high’ value for money.
This wasteful and destructive vanity project should never have been funded in the first place. By cancelling it now, at least £82 million of public money could be saved; money which could be spent on life-enhancing measures such as keeping day centres, children’s centres and care homes open.
In terms of Mr Mitchell’s slow journeys along the Bexhill Road, he is likely to find that even if the link road is built, he won’t experience much relief. County council figures suggest that motorists would save a maximum of four minutes at peak times, and there would be no change at off-peak times.
At the same time, congestion on other roads - notably The Ridge, Queensway and Gillsman’s Hill - is set to increase hugely.
One person’s easier journey is another person’s congestion. The answer to congestion is to reduce demand, by the provision of decent and affordable public transport, cycling and walking routes, rather than building more and more new roads.
It is not too late to stop this madness. The road could still be cancelled, the damage to Combe Haven be made good, and the huge amount of money saved be used for the public good, to protect services for the most vulnerable in our society.