Council set to buy farmland for new Bexhill road

The proposed route of the North Bexhill Access Road
The proposed route of the North Bexhill Access Road

The council is planning to use its legal powers to buy farmland north of Bexhill without the owners permission so a new road can be built.

Rother District Council (RDC) officers have recommended using a compulsory purchase order to acquire the stretch of countryside needed for the North Bexhill Access Road (NBAR).

Cabinet will decide whether or not to go ahead with the ‘last resort’ of using the council’s powers to ensure the 2.4km road’s construction on Monday (July 4).

Despite protests from residents, planning permission was granted in February for Sea Change Sussex to build the road which will go from Combe Valley Way, around the top of Sidley, to Ninfield Road.

Sea Change has acquired almost half of the land through negotiations with the land owners but the developer has asked RDC to use its powers to obtain the rest, according to a report to cabinet.

The land still needed is from Ninfield Road to just past Watermill Lane, as well as two small patches on Buckholt Lane and before the link road.

[Sea Change] will continue to seek to acquire all interests by negotiation but, in order to ensure that the NBAR is not delayed any further, it is considered that there is no alternative other than the use of compulsory purchase powers,” executive director of business operations Anthony Leonard said in his report.

“The decision to use compulsory purchase powers is [seen] as a last resort to ensure the delivery of the NBAR.”

The NBAR was granted to provide new areas for house-building and 28,000 sqm of employment land north of Sidley.

Dr Leonard described the road as ‘critical’ for Bexhill’s long-term growth in his report to cabinet.

“The construction of the NBAR is essential in order to give access to new employment land in north-east Bexhill, open up further housing opportunities and improve the transport connectivity of the wider urban extension without detriment to the existing communities and their traffic capacity in what is a critical location for economic growth in both Hastings and Rother,” he said.

There was plenty of opposition to the NBAR, with many concerned about the impact on wildlife, pollution, traffic and the loss of countryside.

The application was delayed twice from being discussed by the planning committee but was eventually granted despite councillors’ worries.

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