Council is to blame for delays

Regarding your article: ‘New link road could have been delayed to 2016’, the following information might be helpful to readers:

The Bexhill to Hastings Link Road (BHLR) initially approved in 2004 was not one costing ‘£116m’, but at that time £47m.

It was scheduled to open in December. That’s December, 2008.

By far the greater part of the seven year delay is due to the direction of East Sussex County Council (ESCC), promoters of the scheme.

This was the same BHLR that was costed at £24m in 2002 after a government funded study (SoCoMMS).

Plenty of time then to get things ‘right’, including the landscaping and ‘greenway’.

And also, the ‘complementary public transport measures’ guaranteed for Hastings and Bexhill at the same time – what happened to those?

Between 2000 and 2002, in its local transport plan, ESCC seemed genuinely committed to sustainable transport, giving people a high quality choice and supporting healthy ‘car free’ lifestyles.

Two government-funded studies centred on Hastings and Bexhill mirrored this attitude.

Thirteen years back, these measures included real time bus information displays at bus stops – only now slowly appearing; better ‘turn up and go’ bus frequencies; attractive combined bus and rail concessionary fares and tickets for students; three ‘quality bus partnership’ routes – for Hollington, Ore to Little Common, and The Ridge; five trains per hour stopping at Ore, Hastings, St Leonards Warrior Square, Bexhill and Eastbourne, providing a metro-style service for around 1/4 million people; and two new stations at St Leonards West Marina and Glyne Gap (Ravenside).

Well, there is only one quality bus route – the successful Hollington one.

The others were abandoned.

There are no attractive combined ticket arrangements – the young especially need these; just three trains per hour through Hastings to Bexhill, one of which is frequently severely overcrowded; no new stations – Glyne Gap (Ravenside) was ditched by Rother District and ESCC without a peep from Hastings Borough.

We have no adequate – let alone high quality – public transport links between communities and the hospitals appropriate to their clinical needs.

We do have a £116m (latest price) publicly funded Link Road supporting unsustainable, unhealthy, uneconomical car based lifestyles: a great subsidy for the motor trade, bad for the NHS or its privatised successors, and bad for the planet.

If there are plans to fulfil the commitment to provide the high quality ‘complementary measures’ which were a condition of the government’s BHLR funding, ESCC must tell the public exactly what these will be from day one of the opening of the road, and when these measures will be delivered.

Derrick Coffee

County officer

Campaign for Better Transport

East Sussex

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