IN her Observer column of August 23, Amber Rudd claims that improving public transport is a ‘priority’ for her, citing as evidence her involvement in the local rail group, SHRIMP (whose founder Ray Chapman, incidentally, has been a cheerleader for the link road, which does rather bring into question the group’s commitment to public transport).
Ms Rudd’s claim would be a little more credible had she not been in large part responsible for forcing through the £113 million (and rising) white elephant project that is the link road.
Because the Department for Transport has allocated so much (£56 million) to this road, it has made it clear that it will not fund proposed public transport improvements such as ‘real-time’ bus information displays and a network of pedestrian and cycle routes.
The possibility of funding for a station at Glyne Gap - which would have had a big impact on Bexhill Road congestion - has also disappeared because of the huge sum spent on the link road, and now Rother District Council - with minimal public consultation - is quietly removing plans for this new
station from its Core Strategy. Plans for a new station at Upper Wilting - which would have hugely improved transport links for people in the Hollington area, both into Hastings and north to London - have also been scrapped.
If Amber Rudd were really committed to public transport, she would never have supported the link road but instead lobbied for a much lesser sum to be spent on creating a public transport which was sustainable, cheap and user-friendly.
This would do far more to reduce congestion on Bexhill Road than the link road will do, but of course, it would have the disadvantage that it would not allow developers to make millions from covering north east Bexhill with industrial estates - which is, of course, the real reason the link road is being built.