Councillor Keith Glazier talks about the Bexhill Hastings Link Road
Why do we need a new road?
The main reason for building the road is to regenerate the most deprived area in the south east and one of the most deprived in the UK. Hastings is ranked 19 out of 326 local authorities in terms of deprivation and has a Job Seekers Allowance (JSA) claimant rate of 5.6% - considerably higher than the national average of 3.7%.
Investment and regeneration
£500 million will be spent on economic regeneration across East Sussex over the next four years. We believe the link road will support this regeneration and benefit residents and businesses by opening up access to land for housing, business developments and employment opportunities, including:
- construction of 1200-2000 new homes
- a new 50,000 square metre business park
- jobs and regeneration amounting to £1 billion over 25 years.
The road is expected to significantly reduce traffic along:
- A259 Glyne Gap between Bexhill and Hastings
- Hastings seafront
- Harley Shute Road
- A2036 to the east of Bexhill
- rural roads to the north of Bexhill and Hastings
- Crowhurst and Battle through routes.
The scheme has been carefully designed to minimise impact on the countryside and protected areas. Close to the road, a 'greenway' will allow cyclists, walkers and horse riders to travel separately from motor traffic and enjoy the surrounding countryside.
Since 2001, the Hastings and Bexhill Task Force has been focused on improving the economy in Hastings and surrounding areas, which had been in decline for many years.
What route does the road take?
The single-carriageway road will link the outskirts of Bexhill and Hastings, easing congestion and improving air quality on the A259 at Glyne Gap.
At 5.6km long and starting at the A259 in Bexhill, it will run along the line of the disused Bexhill to Crowhurst railway line and then pass around the northern side of the Combe Haven Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). Crossing Crowhurst Road and the Hastings to London railway line, it goes round the southern edge of the Marline Valley Woods SSSI before joining Queensway just north of Crowhurst Road.
The chosen route minimises the impact on the environment and makes the most of opportunities to improve the quality of life for people in the area.
Protecting the environment
The route of the road avoids the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).
New wildlife habitats will be provided, under the supervision of ecologists, including:
- ponds for newts
- hedgerows and walkways under bridges for dormice
- setts and foraging areas for badgers
- roost replacement for bats
- boxes for barn owls.
We are working with Natural England on a '2 for 1' tree replacement scheme. For every tree that is removed, two will be planted. 19 hectares of woodland and extensive hedgerow planting will provide cover to hide the road and minimise views and sounds of traffic.
All wood from felled trees will be recycled. Larger pieces will go to sawmills, the rest will be made into chippings for biomass fuel and the roots will be used as filter beds in ponds and reservoirs.
An Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) was carried out to find ways of reducing the effect of the road on both natural and man-made features. An overview of the EIA can be downloaded in the Environmental Statement – non-technical summary.
What do local residents want?
In an autumn 2004 consultation, 65,000 copies of a questionnaire were distributed,.Of the 2,558 responses received, only 419 people (16% of respondents) said that they did not want a link road at all. The preferred option was developed further and a planning application was submitted in May 2007.
Download a map of the preferred route and read the responses received during the consultation, below:
Facts and figures
- Road length
5.6km (3.5 miles)
- Total costs: £113 million.
This estimate was approved by cabinet on 10 July 2013 and includes an increase of £13.351 million compared to the budget agreed in February 2013. This additional funding was required following increases in construction and security costs as well as a contingency risk factor. Full details of the Capital Programme Amendments can be found at Cabinet – 10 July 2013.
- Impact on agriculture
There will be a loss of 38.6 hectares of 'best and most versatile agricultural land'. See Natural England website – Agricultural Land Classification.
2015 Summer – road opens.
2013 April – Final funding approved by the Department for Transport (DfT)
- March – Provisional funding approved by the Department for Transport (DfT)
- April – East Sussex County Council's Cabinet agree to allow an early start before final funding approval received.
- July – Environmental work begins, including archaeological surveys and creating new habitats for wildlife.
- September – Government confirms Compulsory Purchase Orders so the land for the road and new environmental habitats can be acquired.
- October – High Court refuses an application for permission for a Judicial Review of the link road funding decision given by the DfT in March.
- December – site clearance begins. Protestors arrive.
2010 June – Government Spending Review delays decision on link road.
- February – Secretary of State decides not to call in the planning application.
- July – Early Contractor Involvement Contract Awarded to Hochtief / Vinci joint venture.
- October – Secretary of State for Transport agrees provisional funding.
- November – Public inquiry held into Compulsory Purchase Orders for land required for the link road.
2008 December – Planning Committee gives the go-ahead for the road, subject to legal agreement and various conditions, including measures to reduce its impact on the environment.
2004 – Local residents consulted.
2002 – The Secretary of State (SoS) for Transport says 'the Multi-Modal strategy has recommended one local road to be taken forward: the Bexhill-Hastings Link Road. This scheme is part of a package of regeneration measures for Hastings which is beingdeveloped following our decisions on the Access to Hastings Multi-Modal study announced in July 2001. The SoS recognises that this road will have some impact on the environment. He is therefore asking East Sussex County Council to work closely with statutory environmental bodies in developing this scheme in more detail in order to minimise environmental impacts.'
2001 – The Secretary of State for Transport says that 'a regeneration strategy for Hastings needs to be developed which shows clearly how transport and other measures may be implemented to ensure a sustainable economic future for the area'.
1999 – The Access to Hastings Multi-Modal Study is commissioned to consider how transport would best contribute to regenerating the area's economy, while minimising the impact on nationally important areas such as Sites of Special Interest and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Will I be entitled to compensation for the new road?
In addition to those land owners whose land has been compulsorily acquired by the local authority so that the road may be built, other nearby property holders may also be entitled to compensation for any loss incurred as a result of its use once it is built.
Under Part I of the Land Compensation Act 1973, compensation can be claimed by people who own and also occupy property that has been reduced in value by physical factors caused by the use of a new or altered road. The physical factors are noise, vibration, smell, fumes, smoke and artificial lighting and the discharge on to the property of any solid or liquid substance.
The cause of the physical factors must be the new or altered road in use. For example, if a road is altered, the noise and other adverse effects must arise from the traffic using the altered stretch of road. Part I compensation cannot be claimed for the effects of traffic further down the road where no alteration has taken place.
Part I compensation is also not payable where part of the affected property has been taken for the construction of the new or altered road. This is because the effect of the use of the road on the value of the rest of the property must be taken into account in calculating the compensation for the part of the property taken.
Loss of view, personal inconvenience and physical factors arising during the construction of the road are also not included under Part I compensation.
The first day for claiming compensation is a year and a day after the new road first came into public use – also known as the 'first claim day'. However, if you are selling your property during that year, a claim may be submitted but it must be after exchange of contracts and before completing a sale.
Further information and guidance can be found in the following booklet produced by the Department of Communities and Local Government:
For more information about the Bexhill to Hastings link road, please contact:
Phone: 0345 60 80 193
Email: Bexhill to Hastings link road