How to save £100m

February 8, 2013 by combehavendefenders

Frontpage of the Hastings Observer, 8 February 2013

Frontpage of the Hastings Observer, 8 February 2013

This week’s Hastings Observer leads with a front page story regarding East Sussex County Council (ESCC)’s claims regarding the alleged costs of policing and evicting the peaceful anti-Road protests in the Valley. Specifically, ESCC claim that: “To secure the site and remove protestors from trees and tunnels has required highly trained specialist staff at a cost of nearly £690,000 so far, an unnecessary additional cost.”

What they omit to say, of course, is that they are planning to waste £100m of public money on an environmentally disastrous white elephant project – money which should be used to improve people’s lives, creating sustainable local jobs rather than funding a vanity project road which will improve only the lives (or rather, bank balances) of the developers.

What ESCC also fails to tell us is that they have still not got the government funding for the road , and that by going ahead with the ‘preparatory’ work now, they risk wasting the £2.5m (presumably much more with the increased security costs) that they will have spent before the funding is (or is not) released. As Rupert Clubb,  ESCC director of transport and environment, put it in a report to the council in April 2012: ‘In the unlikely event that either the CPOs or final funding are refused or successfully challenged and we are unable to build the Link Road, the investment recommended now would be lost’.

Going ahead at this point, before they have the money, is sheer recklessness.  ESCC is risking a huge amount of our money, and also causing huge environmental damage, with no guarantee that the road will be built.  The ancient oaks are down, the damage has been done, but by continuing our protest, we hope to ensure that no more money is wasted, no more of the Combe Haven valley destroyed.

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