Rother is exploiting town’s deprivation

WHILE a few may rejoice, I suspect there are many in Hastings, who have been trying for years to promote the town as a commercial development area, will be furious at this link road as it will pave the way for the prospect of a rival business park only a few miles away.

Hastings has long been an area of deprivation and the considerable steps recently being taken to improve the situation with lots of new buildings and around Hastings, some completed, some still in the pipeline.

According to the Office of National Statistics, Rother is a considerably less deprived area than Hastings. Average income in Rother would appear to be £25,000 and in Hastings £18,500.

Rother has therefore simply piggy-backed off Hastings’ deprivation purely to get this link road built and to build its own business park.

There can only be a certain number of companies interested in moving to the area so Hastings and Rother will end up competing against each other for the same companies who for their part will play each authority off against each other to get reduced rent and rates.

You reported in the Observer of March 23 that ‘local businesses are already jockeying for position’, presumably to get into the new buildings.

But isn’t the point to try to attract businesses from outside the area into Hastings? Otherwise you will end up with another Priory Meadow scenario with lots of empty shops left when businesses moved into the new precinct.

So don’t hold out too much hope that new jobs will arrive quickly, if at all.

Most of the new development is purely speculative. Even South Queensway, available for a long time now, is still partly vacant. So why build more?

The bottom line is that the link road is allowing for the carving up some 400 acres of green field land, part for the road and part for Rother’s 500,000 square feet of speculative business park. That is just not right.

The 2,000 houses (seems to have suddenly increased from 1,400) could be perfectly well-accommodated on the existing 200 acres of brownfield land available at north east Bexhill.

And the final ignominy: the bypass is to be built by a Franco-German consortium. So not even any profits from the venture will go to the UK.

IAN TOMISSON

Station Road

Crowhurst