Campaigners threaten legal action after QGR support

Gabriel Carlyle SUS-150429-174136001
Gabriel Carlyle SUS-150429-174136001

A St Leonards campaigner against a controversial proposed road said he would go to court again after two letters were received in support of the plan.

Gabriel Carlyle successfully reversed the permission for the Queensway Gateway Road (QGR) due to toxic levels of pollution after a High Court appeal.

Two senior borough and county council officers have given their support to the scheme and the Combe Haven Defenders claim neither make reference to the necessary changes on air pollution.

Hastings Borough Council’s assistant director for regeneration and culture Monica Adams-Acton and East Sussex County Council’s director for communities, economy and transport Rupert Clubb both sent supportive letters.

Mr Carlyle said: “SeaChange Sussex appear to have made no real changes to the planning application, but are expecting Hastings council to rubberstamp it once again, thus ignoring the ruling of the High Court.

“Hastings council should be aware that if they pass this application again in its current form, they will be risking further legal action, and a further waste of public money.”

Hastings council admitted they had overlooked the toxic levels of pollution in June.

The Combe Haven defenders believe the letters’ lack of reference shows the councils do not take the issue seriously.

The council claim Ms Adams-Acton’s acknowledgement of the for a ‘high quality environment’ covered the topic of air pollution.

A Hastings council spokesman said: “Monica Adams-Acton, assistant director for regeneration and culture at the council, did draft a response in support of the Queensway Gateway proposal.

“This was based on the economic regeneration case, but it did acknowledge the need for a high quality environment, noting that this was a core part of the town’s ‘offer’.”

Mr Clubb said the reason he wrote to Hastings council in support of the road was because of the employment and development potential the QGR would unlock.

“Planning permission for the Queensway Gateway Road was withdrawn after Hastings Borough Council accepted that it had not properly taken into account the potential impact on air quality when considering the application,” he said.

“We have written a letter of support in relation to the application submitted by Sea Change Sussex as we believe the scheme has an important role to play in unlocking development and employment sites, creating jobs and boosting the economy in East Sussex.

“It will be for Hastings Borough Council to re-consider the application on its merits taking into account all aspects of the application.”

Chief executive of the Campaign for Better Transport Stephen Joseph said air pollution is not an issue that can be ‘wished away’.

“Councils like Hastings can’t go on ignoring air pollution from traffic, as the last few days at Volkswagen have shown, it’s a huge problem which can’t be wished away,” he said.

“Apart from questions around the legitimacy of building roads which increase air pollution, this will hurt not help the Hastings economy – people won’t want to work or invest in places dominated and polluted by traffic.

“The council should go after transport policies that cut pollution and give people in the town real and attractive alternatives to driving.’

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