St Leonards Queensway Gateway Road may not be complete until 2023
A road in St Leonards may not be completed for another two-and-a-half years.
A report due to be presented to the South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP) on Friday (March 12) states the Queensway Gateway Road (QGR) will be completed ‘in January 2022 at the earliest’.
However, it adds that if a compulsory purchase order (CPO) is deemed necessary, completion could be delayed by between six and 18 months, which could take the completion date to August 2023.
An earlier SELEP report states that the road was due for completion in March 2016.
SELEP gave developer SeaChange Sussex £10m from the Local Growth Fund towards the road.
Sea Change cannot complete the project until a solution has been found to a new site for Bartletts SEAT car showroom, which sits on the spot where a new roundabout would join the QGR to the A21.
The document presented to SELEP noted that if the project could not be completed as planned, some or all of the £10m grant may have to be paid back by East Sussex County Council (ESCC) as the responsible body for the grant money.
Andrea Needham, spokesperson for Seachangewatch, which monitors the activities of Seachange Sussex, said: “Millions of pounds of public money have been poured into this unnecessary, environmentally destructive project.
“It beggars belief that Sea Change could be seven years late completing a 600m road. And not a single elected councillor of any party is willing to speak out about the tens of millions of pounds of public funds that have been wasted in our town on projects that have utterly failed to deliver the benefits promised.”
A Sea Change spokesman said: “Sea Change Sussex’s immediate priority remains to complete the interim connection between the Queensway Gateway and the A21 (Sedlescombe Road North). This will give the travelling public the benefits of the new road – improving local journeys, connectivity with the A21 and the coast via Combe Valley Way and, importantly, relieving congestion on The Ridge.
“We started building the interim connection last October. Its completion, linking right the way through to the A21, does not depend on any further land acquisitions, but does require approvals from East Sussex County Council and Highways England.
“We’ve already applied for the necessary approvals. The first was given last October and enabled us to complete most of the works needed, extending the Queensway Gateway eastwards up to and including Whitworth Road.
“The remaining works needed are to widen the A21 where the roads will join, stabilise the embankments in that area and install traffic lights at the junction.
“Our ongoing consultations with the highways authorities have suggested some further modifications to the design of the interim connection to add to the capacity of the junction, ensuring a more efficient use of the road network and minimising the disruption of any remaining works.
“We’re working to finalise these modifications as swiftly as possible so we can move ahead with the final elements of the interim scheme, with the benefit of the further approvals needed.
“We can’t say when any further land acquisition by CPO would be completed as this is in the hands of East Sussex County Council.
“But this shouldn’t have any impact on the travelling public because the interim solution will provide the advantages of the new road and minimise the impact of any remaining works.”
* Got a story? Ring reporters Richard Gladstone on 07803 505794 or Stephen Wynn-Davies on 07393 754494.
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