Still no date for road opening say protesters

Protesters have slammed East Sussex County Council for not yet setting a date for the opening of the Bexhill to Hastings Link Road.

The county council had already said, late last year, that the road will not open in May as originally planned, but have still not released an expected date.

It blames a wet winter and sodden late summer for the delays, saying further progress on the project is dependant on the weather over the forthcoming winter months.

But protest group Combe Haven Defenders is calling for the council to be more transparent over the delay.

Members are also angry that the project is running over budget.

East Sussex County Council’s Cabinet recommended the draft budget for 2015/16 this week, which contained an ‘additional requirement’ of £2.9 million for the Bexhill Hastings Link Road, bringing the total cost of the road to nearly £116.4 million.

The group says this is the third cost increase since the project began in January 2013.

Gabriel Carlyle, of Combe Haven Defenders, said: “‘This latest cost increase, of almost £3 million, comes just after the county council has decided to slash bus services to save £1.88 million.

“We are told that these cuts – which will hit the poorest and most vulnerable – cannot be avoided, yet when it comes to the link road, there is apparently a bottomless pit of money available.”

The group’s website states: “When we talked to project manager Bob Pape only last month he told us that he was ‘bullish’ that the costs would not rise any further.

“The cost of the link road has gone up and down over the years. It’s quite instructive to look at the ever-changing cost, and the willingness of East Sussex County Council to pick up the bill, however high it is.”

An East Sussex County Council spokesperson said that the £113m Link Road budget included a contingency fund to meet extra costs incurred by unforeseen issues, such as bad weather.