Hundreds of protestors have signed a petition demanding no more public money be allocated to the controversial North Bexhill Access Road (NBAR).
The petition, set up by environmental group Combe Haven Defenders on the 38 Degrees website, is addressed jointly to Christian Brodie, chairman of the South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP), which has already promised £16.6m in funding for the road, and to Keith Glazier, leader of East Sussex County Council (ESCC).
Combe Haven Defenders believes the predicted cost of the road may have been underplayed. They point out that at 2.4km long, the NBAR would cost £6.9m/km. By comparison, the 5.6km Bexhill Hastings Link Road is currently predicted to cost £124.3m, or £22.2m/km.
Planning permission for the NBAR was granted by Rother District Council in February. The road would run west from a roundabout junction with the Bexhill Hastings Link Road near Glover’s Farm, to join the A269 near Freezeland Lane. Andrea Needham, spokesman for Combe Haven Defenders, said: “We simply do not believe the road can be built for less than a third of the per kilometre cost of the link road. We are concerned once the project is under way, SeaChange will come back to SELEP or to ESCC for more funding. Our petition demands SELEP and ESCC give a firm commitment not to allocate a single penny more of public money to this destructive road.”
An ESCC spokesman said: “Funding for the NBAR comes from the Local Growth Fund – money from central government specifically for schemes which boost economic development. 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 link road was a far more complex scheme than the NBAR therefore the two projects are not comparable.
“The NBAR will build on the success of the link road and help to create more than 2,000 jobs by providing direct access to 38,000 sqm of new employment land.”
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