Green light for major Sidley road?

People against the North Bexhill Access Road (PANBAR). SUS-150110-121049001
People against the North Bexhill Access Road (PANBAR). SUS-150110-121049001

A major road north of Sidley designed to open up land for development could be given the green light as officers recommend granting planning permission.

The North Bexhill Access Road has been a source of controversy as residents set up an action group against it and 250 people have signed a petition opposing the proposal.

But Rother District Council planning committee will decide whether to go with the recommendation at a meeting on Thursday (December 10).

The road is part of the council’s local plan and seems destined to succeed with no objections from most of the consulted parties.

But Catsfield Parish Council, the 83 individual responses, the 50 people who signed the petition and the residents who formed People Against the North Bexhill Access Road are all against it.

One of the main criticisms of developers Sea Change Sussex has been the publicity of the road, with many claiming the council want to keep it a secret.

Gillian Murton, of Watermill Lane, spoke to businesses in Sidley and only two of them knew about the proposal.

She is against the plans to cut off her road as it will damage commuting and business links between Sidley and Catsfield.

“It is amazing that a proposal that would have such a significant effect on Sidey traders is completely unknown to them a few days before the application is decided upon,” she said.

“I think the authorities responsible are very much at fault to follow the minimum statutory requirement to advertise this planning application. This is a £50million public project not a kitchen extension.

“People are already very cynical about the developer and I have now joined the public in feeling helpless and discouraged in the face of a council who have permitted or are even complicit in allowing this to happen.

“It has been ‘the secret road’ from start to finish.”

The developers have posted public notices and held a six-hour consultation at Bexhill High Academy where 500 people attended, according to Sea Change.

Chief executive John Shaw even gave a talk at a Bexhill Town Forum meeting to try and increase residents’ knowledge of the road.

The report to the planning committee says the road and the future development will provide job opportunities and sustainable growth for Bexhill.

The Environment Agency do not oppose the application but do suggest some mitigation to reduce the risk to wildlife.

The road comprises a roundabout junction with the A269 Ninfield Road and a 2.4km single carriageway road to the newly constructed roundabout on the Bexhill Hastings Link Road.

The road would have a cycle and foot path and a roundabout at Watermill Lane.

The proposal includes a number of ecological measures such as badger tunnels and ponds to limit the road’s impact.

It would be 40mph for most of the road other than a 30mph zone near the link road.

The deadline for comments is Tuesday, December 8.

For more information on the application visit www.rother.gov.uk.

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