Sea Change CEO highlights vital role of Link Road – and condemns protests as jeopardising regeneration
Posted on: January 30, 2013
John Shaw, CEO of Sea Change Sussex, has joined the debate about the Hastings Link Road – speaking out about its vital role and condemning anti-road protests for putting jobs and regeneration in jeopardy.
The Link Road, being developed by East Sussex County Council, forms a linchpin of Sea Change’s regeneration programme by providing access to sites which will support extensive business premises and numerous jobs. Road opponents are staging protests in attempts to prevent its construction.
Having observed the protests since site clearance for the road started in late December, John Shaw comments:
“The Link Road is absolutely vital for local regeneration. It will provide access to the largest new development sites in the whole area: 42 acres of land in north-east Bexhill which will support 500,000 sq ft of business premises and 3,000 jobs.
“This land represents the most important, game-changing opportunity for this area. It will enable us to create the scale of vibrant business community which will help local companies and young people to flourish and secure a better future for the whole community.
“The Bexhill sites follow a painstakingly-delivered 10-year regeneration programme that’s seen investment in a new rail and bus hub in Hastings, a new sixth-form college, a local campus for the University of Brighton, two Academy schools plus significant new business centres, offices and industrial units and other sites. All these – including the Link Road – have been submitted to scrutiny through the planning and funding systems and received the universal endorsement of every democratic process.
“And one part – a key part – has now woken up protestors who’ve never shown any interest in the regeneration of this community for all these years. They’ve decided to oppose a small local road and clearly feel their views should override the economic and job prospects of the whole area.
“Their disruptive activities are costing millions in security measures, for which hard-pressed local tax-payers are having to foot the bill.
“And the way they’re distorting the facts is an outrage. The Link Road is far from a major dual carriageway, tearing through designated areas of natural beauty or scientific interest as they imply. It’s a short, single-carriage country road that will largely utilise old railway cuttings and follow the contours of the valley, avoiding any designated natural or historical zones.
“The County Council has gone to enormous lengths to minimise its impact on the environment.
“Let’s be clear: this is a road to jobs, business success and a more prosperous future for this community. The sooner we can continue the regeneration programme without interference from an obstructive minority, the better.”
Click here for a Fact Sheet explaining the role of the Link Road in Sea Change’s economic development programme.
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