A New Year - and new hopes

ELSEWHERE in today’s Bexhill Observer we have looked back at some of the events which shaped 2012 in this part of the world.

But, of course, with 2013 now imminent, it is also a time to look forward and to wonder what the New Year will bring.

Sure to be a dominant feature over the next 12 months will be the Bexhill-Hastings Link Road, with work already under way to create the new highway that promises so much in terms of improved access, more housing, new jobs and reduced delays on the existing A259 trunk road.

Not everyone is convinced that these targets will be met, and so it is likely to remain a focus for controversy throughout 2013.

Also in the offing, and due for completion in early 2014, is a new Marks and Spencer store at the Ravenside retail and leisure park.

Again, it has not been short of controversy, for although it will bring 100 new jobs and the kudos of a tried and tested brand to our town, it has also meant the loss of a ten-pin bowling centre that provided an amenity popular with people both in and beyond Bexhill. Will we see moves for it to be replaced during the New Year?

Planning issues are also high on the agenda for people in Little Common, who have now had 12 months to contemplate proposals for some 275 new homes and associated developments on a greenfield site to the north of Barnhorn Road.

Rother councillors will be formally assessing the plans over coming months, no doubt mindful that the scheme could bring New Homes Bonus payments of £360,000 annually and worth an estimated £2,160,000 overall.

Finances are certain to be a priority for Rother, which again has seen hundreds of thousands of pounds slashed from the grant it gets from central Government.

Like many a private individual in these austere times, its officers and members must be wondering just how they are going to make ends meet in 2013.

But let’s not end on a downbeat note, for the New Year is traditionally a time for optimism, a fresh sheet on which to list hopes and aspirations for times yet to come.

We already enjoy the benefits of being part of one of the county’s friendliest and most pleasant coastal towns, so let’s keep that in mind as we welcome 2013 and all that it may bring.