OVER the past few weeks, more than 350 people have put in a formal objection to the ‘gateway’ road in Bexhill.
This road will run from Wrestwood Road (opposite St Mary’s School) to join the link road near Glover’s Farm. It will allow the opening up of a huge area of what is now countryside, to housing and industrial development. Another large area, to the west of the Link Road, will also be developed.
People who live near the route of the proposed road are said to have been ‘consulted’, in fact, they were given the chance (for two afternoons) to visit an exhibition which purported to be seeking their views, but in fact was nothing more than a public relations exercise.
The exhibition told them about the road, but gave them little idea of the huge scale of development which was being proposed. In talking to people in Bexhill and Sidley in recent weeks, it has become clear to me that most people had no idea about the plans, and were shocked and horrified when they were told that the fields behind their houses were shortly to be covered in concrete.
It is becoming ever clearer that congestion on the Bexhill Road was never anything other than a convenient foil to justify the building of the link road.
When it is built, Bexhill Road may be very slightly less congested, but at the cost of hugely increased congestion elsewhere in the area. But without the link road, it would be impossible to build houses and industrial units on anything like the scale planned.
We are told that the development will create jobs, and certainly that’s something our area needs. But what we need is sustainable, community-based jobs. Building acres of industrial units and office blocks does not constitute a job creation scheme, whatever East Sussex County Council would have us believe. Neither it, nor Rother District Council, nor SeaChange, the developer of the gateway road, can point to a single company which has expressed an interest in moving into this new industrial estate.
The scale of objections to the gateway road makes it clear that people are not being duped; they can see this road for what it is, and don’t want their countryside to be destroyed in the name of ‘progress’.