Campaigners angry over link road price increase

The cost of the Bexhill-Hastings Link Road now totals �120m
The cost of the Bexhill-Hastings Link Road now totals �120m
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Transport campaigners have bemoaned the latest price increase for the Bexhill-Hastings Link Road (BHLR) but say it comes as no surprise.

The Campaign for Better Transport - East Sussex believes the £4.4m increase just means more cost to the taxpayer.

The increase, which puts the total cost of the road at more than £120m, was revealed in a report to East Sussex County Council last month.

County officer for the campaigners Derrick Coffee said: “The latest price hike comes as no surprise as East Sussex taxpayers continue to subsidise this ‘poor to medium value for money’ road project, the worst for CO2 emissions in England.

“From an estimated cost of £24m in 2002, to a government-approved £47m in 2004, the costs are now well over £120m.

“Taking into account the extra roads spawned by the BHLR, the total road building costs could easily be in the region of £140m.

“Further cost increases have not been ruled out.”

A chart by the campaigners shows the BHLR’s ‘benefit-to-cost ratio’ is 1.5 and its carbon impact is 383,380tCO2e.

Combined, this data puts the road as the worst for both categories in England.

Mr Coffee said the claims the road will create more jobs was based on ‘very flimsy evidence that would raise eyebrows in a class of year six schoolchildren’.

He believes that £4.4m could have gone towards a new rail station or paid for improvements to the bus network.

“These road schemes subsidise journeys by car and will move communities towards even greater levels of unsustainable car dependency.

“Increased levels of traffic will follow, with congestion simply shifted around, bringing with it worsening air quality and many other health ‘disbenefits’.

“Walking and cycling will become unpleasant and dangerous and public transport improvements delayed if they happen at all.

“The cost increase alone would have gone a long way to funding a new station at Glyne Gap or Ravenside, more than enough to restore the county’s disintegrating bus network, helping those who do not, cannot or who choose not to drive to get around.

“Healthy and car-free lifestyles would be beneficial to all and should be a viable and attractive option, especially for the young.

“The current road building frenzy stands in the way of those choices and the heavy costs will be borne by future generations.”

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