Overwhelming objections to plans for a wide hardcore path through the Oasis garden on the seafront appear to have gone unheeded, Bexhill Town Forum heard at its meeting.
Members had voted against the controversial proposal and in favour of an alternative scheme which would preserve most of the garden.
They were hoping for a satisfactory outcome from face-to-face talks between their officers and the council over the Forum’s concerns.
However Vice Chair Nick Hollington told the Forum at St Peter’s Community Centre that promises the alternative scheme would receive a detailed response, and that comments in the consultation would be available, did not materialise. A letter stating the Forum’s concerns would go to the Town Centre Steering Group - but only minor changes would be considered.
Rother District Council’s joint Chief Executive Malcolm Johnston said he had received support for the proposals, including from the Chamber of Commerce.
Ron Storkey commented: “As far as the Chamber of Commerce’s approval is concerned it is more that the Chamber was not against the proposal as it wouldn’t have an adverse effect on town trade.”
He informed the Forum that the Town Centre Steering Group will be receiving the collated results of the consultation from East Sussex County Council which will be considered and then made public.
Cllr Stuart Earl confirmed that any changes to the scheme would only be cosmetic. “I’m afraid the consultation by RDC was a sham because the decision was already made by the Cabinet. I’m so sorry that people were not consulted before this proposal came forward. If we are paying the bill for it for goodness sake let us have a voice.”
There was warm applause when Cllr John Lee commented: “Everything that is being said tonight points to one over-riding thing: that Bexhill needs a voice of its own. A number of us have fought behind the scenes to get that democratic role. We have to have our own local governance for Bexhill.”