Has county increased spend on link road?

31/12/12- Derelict properties in London Road, Bexhill awaiting demolition to make way for the Bexhill to Hastings Link Road.

31/12/12- Derelict properties in London Road, Bexhill awaiting demolition to make way for the Bexhill to Hastings Link Road.

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ANTI-link road campaigners claim East Sussex County Council agreed ito increase its spend on the development between Bexhill and Hastings in secret.

Combe Haven Defenders say this happened at a meeting in December from which the public was excluded and that the minutes have been withheld.

The council responded it was not “appropriate to share this commercially sensitive information” which comes as it is asking people in East Sussex to accept spending cuts in services of millions of pounds.

An ESCC spokesman told the Observer this week: “At the time of the December Cabinet meeting we were still in commercial discussions with our contractor and it was not appropriate to share this commercially sensitive information at that time, as it could have prejudiced negotiations.

“We will be updating a future Cabinet with the details . That meeting will be webcast and open to the public to attend.

“Cabinet meetings are regulated by legislation and from time to time the council may need to safeguard its commercial position by excluding the press and the public in accordance with that legislation.”

Combe Haven Defenders believe that ESCC earmarked a further £6 million for the road as it slices £70 million from its spending across the board.

Spokesperson Andrea Needham said, “Council leader Peter Jones has frequently accused opponents of the Link Road of not respecting the democratic process. We would like to know how increasing the funding for the road in a meeting from which the public are excluded, and refusing to publish the minutes of that meeting, is part of the democratic process.”

Meanwhile residents in Sidley are waiting for the next move in the development having seen the removal of trees along the banks beside the former railway line off London Road at Elva Way up to Woodsgate Park.

It is understood that the derelict houses near the A259 crossroads will soon be demolished but the county council has yet to announce when this might happen, and commented: “Detailed plans and timetables need to take account of weather and other practical considerations and are currently being considered. Once we have confirmed details we intend to hold some construction exhibitions and will invite local residents, to ensure they are kept informed.”

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