How can delays with the Hastings Gateway Road be caused by our protests?

From: Gabriel Carlyle, Ellenslea Road, St Leonards-on-Sea

Friday, 23rd July 2021, 7:50 am
Updated Friday, 23rd July 2021, 9:08 am
The Gateway Road

In the recent article about Hastings Green Party’s opposition to SeaChange’s planning application for a new business park (Hastings Green party says North Queensway business park threatens Marline Valley nature reserve, 15 July), SeaChange Sussex defends its various projects in the area. In particular it talks about the long-delayed Queensway Gateway road, saying that the delay is ‘in large part because protestors challenged its original planning permission via a judicial review’. As the person who brought that legal case, I would like to set the record straight.

Firstly, SeaChange lets readers believe that the judicial review was without merit. In fact, the case - brought on the grounds that the road would cause illegal air pollution - was in the first instance successful, and Hastings Borough Council was forced to quash the planning permission it had granted. Subsequently, SeaChange claimed that there had been a ‘methodological error’ in the original assessment, and that now that was corrected, the air pollution was within legal limits. HBC then passed the application even though there remained serious environmental concerns.

Secondly, it is simply wrong for SeaChange to claim that the delay to the QGR is ‘in large part’ down to this legal case. In reality, the legal challenge took six months. However, the QGR is currently five years late, with a strong possibility that the road proper (as opposed to the temporary link to the A21 via Junction Road, which SeaChange is now proposing) may not be finished for another two years, making it seven years late. Clearly maths is not SeaChange’s strong suit, if the company believes that six months is a large part of five years.

The truth is that SeaChange has presided over a long string of empty business parks, uncompleted roads and empty offices over the past decade. It has had tens of millions of pounds of public money and has failed to produce the jobs it promised when seeking the funding. It is well past time that our local councils took a long hard look at the work of this utterly unaccountable so-called regeneration company.

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