IN the matter of the Hastings- Bexhill Link Road, it is time to bring together the various parties.
Failure of the judicial review should be taken as a sign to cease campaigns of opposition and chart a new beginning.
Campaigners assert that the road would destroy the Combe Haven Valley, yet this seems far from certain. Roads can be built through areas of scenic beauty if they are well-designed and made to fit in. There are good examples of a roadway becoming an attractive feature in the landscape.
Opposition based on narrow mindsets is not appropriate. The road has been accepted in principle by a public inquiry, and the funding confirmed. MP Amber Rudd and Council Leader Jeremy Birch should be commended for their measured and exemplary ‘real world views’. Opponents and sceptics must now turn to ensuring the road is built with great care to protect and enhance natural areas. Ugly intrusive structures should be avoided. This would be a productive task for campaigners, and can include monitoring construction and mitigation works, as well as the treatment of sensitive areas.
The BHLR can be made ‘sustainable’, and it can contribute to the infrastructure needs and regeneration of the Hastings local. Hastings and St Leonards are special places that need attention, and support to ensure their characters are retained and thrive in the future. The road can be made to assist that survival and enhancement.