‘No more public money’ for controversial Bexhill road

Residents with the 370-strong petition calling for no more public funds to be spent on the North Bexhill Access Road. Photo by Combe Haven Defenders SUS-160111-163104001
Residents with the 370-strong petition calling for no more public funds to be spent on the North Bexhill Access Road. Photo by Combe Haven Defenders SUS-160111-163104001

A 370-strong petition has been sent to the authorities calling for no more public money to be spent on a controversial new road in Bexhill amid concerns for its funding.

Environmentalist group Combe Haven Defenders’ (CHD) petition, sent in the form of a five-meter-long ‘road’, was posted to South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP) chairman Christian Brodie on Monday.

SELEP pledged £16.6m for the North Bexhill Access Road (NBAR) but the group is worried this will not be enough and claims developers Sea Change Sussex underplayed its cost to secure funding.

The council and Sea Change said no extra money is envisaged for the road, which will join the link road to the A269.

CHD spokesman Anthony Bradnum said: “This petition is demanding a firm commitment that no more public money is thrown at this deeply unpopular and environmentally destructive road.”

Sea Change claims the 2.4km NBAR will cost £6.9m/km. By comparison, the 5.6km link road is currently predicted to cost £22.2m/km, which is very close to the average cost of new roads, according to Campaign for Better Transport.

In other words, the developers believe the NBAR will work out at less than a third of the cost of the link road, or of the average new road, which CHD does not agree with.

“We simply don’t believe that this road can be built for £16.6m, when all the evidence suggests it should cost around three times as much,” Mr Bradnum said.

An East Sussex County Council spokesman said the two roads are not comparable as the link road was ‘far more complex’ and the cost was deemed sound independently.

“Before any funding was awarded, the business case for the project, including the anticipated cost, was analysed and found to be sound by an independent technical evaluator and no further funding is envisaged for this scheme,” the spokesman said.

A Sea Change spokesman added: “We’ve designed the road carefully and are confident, based on current work and projections, that we can deliver it as planned.

“This road will bring great benefits to the community in terms of traffic flows, jobs and housing – and it’s surely great news that we can develop it at such reasonable cost.”

The NBAR would run west from a roundabout junction with the link road near Glover’s Farm, going across the top of Sidley to join the A269 Ninfield Road.

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