Dozens of residents gathered on Valentine’s Day to say ‘no’ to the proposed North Bexhill Access Road (NBAR).
They walked some of the route of the road and stopped for a photo call among trees threatened by the proposed road.
A statement issued by the Combe Haven Defenders said, according to the environmental statement submitted as part of the planning application, the 2.4km road would cause the loss of nearly 2km of ‘species rich hedgerows’ and damage the habitats of many protected species including bats, dormice, reptiles and red-listed birds.
“It would run just a few metres from several stands of ancient woodland, including one, Kiteye Wood, which is a scout camp,” said the statement.
The NBAR was finally passed on by Rother District Council’s planning committee on Thursday (February 11) after being on and off the agenda since the end of last year.
The road has caused controversy locally, with opponents citing loss of green space, overdevelopment and effects on protected species as major concerns.
It is being developed by SeaChange Sussex and would allow for 3,100 houses and 60,000sqm of business space to be built on the countryside north of Bexhill.
The Valentine’s Day event was organised by Combe Haven Defenders.
Spokesman Anthony Bradnum said: “The North Bexhill Access Road is another SeaChange white elephant project, which would destroy a huge area of open countryside and have serious impacts on wildlife, biodiversity and ancient woodland.
“It would encourage more car use, at a time in history when we should be doing everything we can to provide alternative means of transport in order to reduce carbon emissions.
“Neither Rother District Council nor SeaChange Sussex will come clean about the real costs of the road, but like all the other new roads locally, it will be paid for with public money.
“This is a deeply unpopular road, and we are determined to carry on opposing it.”
Speaking after the road was approved last week, a SeaChange spokesman said: “We’re pleased to have been given planning go-ahead for the North Bexhill Access Road and think this is an important scheme for the future prosperity of the area.
“We now need to look at the detail of the planning conditions and consider our next steps in taking this project forward.”
The spokesman also responded to concern from some members at last week’s meeting that the application was ‘premature’.
“Long-range studies by the area’s local authorities confirm that the additional employment and housing land is much-needed to support forecast population growth – to ensure future generations have jobs and homes without having to move away,” he said.
“This is why the development land and new roads have long been established in the Rother local plan.
“We also believe it’s important to develop good road links to open up access to this development land: people are highly unlikely to let an office or buy a home if there are no roads in place to reach them.
“A large reason Park Holidays UK let Glovers House on the Bexhill Enterprise Park was – in addition to the quality of the offices – because they can reach it so easily via the new Combe Valley Way and Mount View Street.”
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