Town centre needs to speak up on road

SINCE I wrote my initial letter, many other groups and individuals have written to the Observer about the impact the proposed Link Road will have on their part of Hastings.

But in all this correspondence the voices of the town centre and of the Old Town have been noticeably absent.

Are they complacent that this road will not adversely affect them? If so, they are being naive: the Link Road will alter their lives dramatically.

While Hastings has such a poor transport infrastructure it cannot hope for the prosperity of say, Brighton and Hove, but relies on tourists for its income.

But these visitors, unless very determined to stop off in Hastings, will no longer be driving along our seafront and through the Old Town. Instead the new road will entice them north at Combe Haven, along The Ridge, past the Conquest Hospital and the Crematorium and link them back onto the A259 at B&Q in Ore.

So they will no longer be tempted to admire, stop and spend in Hastings, but will drive straight on to Rye, which will doubtless welcome them with open arms.

Alternatively, the determined visitors and those with business in the town will realise their mistake in following the splendid new road and will turn south at Ore to make their way back into Hastings.

After they have panicked at the new traffic control system at the A259/Frederick Road junction and have had ample time to think while sitting motionless waiting for traffic to unsnarl at the new A259/Stade junction, surely these potential visitors will give up on Hastings and drive away?

These frustrated drivers will simply abandon Hastings and take their spending money elsewhere (and the competition is fierce).

Without the income provided by the visitors who historically have stopped off in Hastings because that’s where the main road automatically took them, the financial woes of our town will receive what may prove to be the final blow to an already fragile economy.

The whole of the ancient Borough of Hastings needs to wake up to the threat the proposed Link Road poses to us all, for it is our very tourist industry that is threatened, not just leafy byways and crested newts.

ERICA BARRETT

Pilot Field Area Residents’ Association