Combe Haven Defenders protest in St Leonards

The tree felling protest near Queensway. SUS-150707-130345001
The tree felling protest near Queensway. SUS-150707-130345001

Environmental campaigners from the Combe Haven Defenders protested against tree felling in Hollington Valley yesterday (Tuesday, July 7).

Several members of the group, who oppose plans for a £15m road to be built in the area, called the Queensway Gateway Road, stood under a tree to prevent felling before police were called.

At the end of last month, council bosses withdrew permission for the building of the road.

The authority originally granted permission to SeaChange Sussex back in February but quashed it after admitting members on the council’s planning committee were not drawn to the council’s policy regarding air quality when discussing the application.

A legal challenge was brought by St Leonards resident Gabriel Carlyle, from the Combe Haven Defenders, who said Hastings Borough Council should not have given the go-ahead for the project as the road would breach national and EU laws on air pollution.

He launched the High Court legal challenge following the borough council’s granting of permission.

This was withdrawn after the council said it would reconsider SeaChange Sussex’s plans at a future planning meeting,

A spokesman for the Combe Haven Defenders said: “The continued destruction of this important local wildlife area raises fears that the council plans to simply plough on regardless, rubber stamping the project once again. This is completely unacceptable.”

Kevin Boorman, spokesman for Hastings Borough Council, said: “We have investigated the tree felling in this area. The land is owned by East Sussex County Council, and SeaChange Sussex has a licence from them to carry out tree clearance work.”

A spokesman for SeaChange Sussex said: “Sea Change is proposing to remove a number of tree stumps from the site and to carry out ground investigations.

“We will not, however, cut down the two further trees Natural England had authorised to be felled until the Queensway Gateway road application has been re-considered by Hastings Borough Council. In view of this, we trust we will be allowed to undertake the removal of stumps and ground investigations unhindered.”

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