More space needed? The plot thickens on the Gateway Road proposal

July 10, 2013 by combehavendefenders



Sea Change Sussex recently put in a planning application for a so-called ‘Gateway Road’ – aka the Link Road to the Link Road.  This new road, which would run from Wrestwood Road in Bexhill to join the Link Road at a roundabout near Glover’s Farm, would allow the opening up for ‘development’ of a huge area of greenfield land to the north east of Bexhill.

450 objections

The developers may not have been prepared for the reaction: over 450 people put in objections to the road, citing loss of green space, increased carbon emissions, destruction of wildlife habitat, and encouragement of car use amongst other reasons.

Sea Change fights back…

The official closing date for comments on the application was May 31.  However, stung by the hundreds of objections, Sea Change Sussex appears to have launched a campaign after that date to ‘persuade’ people to support the new road.

Sea Change tenants asked to support the road

Combe Haven Defenders has received, anonymously, a copy of a letter which was delivered to the tenants of Sea Change Sussex in the Creative Media Centre in Robertson Street – see below.  The same letter was presumably sent to Sea Change tenants in the Innovation Centre on Churchfields Estate.


More space needed?

The letter states that the Gateway Road is needed because it would allow for more business space such as the Creative Media Centre, explaining that ‘the premises I operate from is full’.  Strangely, nobody appears to have told Sea Change that, as the Creative Media Centre website appears to have a number of office suites available for rent:

space available

Screenshot taken 10 July 2013

Likewise, the Innovation Centre appears to have a number of vacant spaces:

innovation centre

Screenshot taken on 10 July 2013

A handwritten note which accompanied the letter sent to us stated that, ‘The building is not fully occupied.  It’s my understanding that the company behind Creative Media Centre [Sea Change] triggered a clause allowing them to break the lease of 17 to 19 Robertson Street. Remaining companies that were in this building have since moved over to number 45.  Letters were hand-delivered to businesses in the building, helpfully personalised with our company names at the top.’

Creative Media Centre downsizing?

This note refers to the two premises occupied by the Creative Media Centre, one at 17-19 Robertson Street, the other at 45 Robertson Street.  According to our information, number 17 is closing down, with companies based there being offered space at number 45.  It rather begs the question of why, if the Creative Media Centre is flourishing as Sea Change claims, a large, recently built, office block is being closed.  And why, if Sea Change is unable even to fill the space it has got, it is pushing for a vast new ‘business park’ outside Bexhill.

Some might say that asking your tenants to sign letters of support for your new business venture – as Sea Change Sussex appears to have done – unfairly puts pressure on people who are in a potentially vulnerable position if they refuse.  It would also appear to show that Sea Change has been shocked and stung by the level of opposition to their new road.

Johnny come latelies pile in…

In total, 68 tenants of Sea Change have submitted letters in support of the Gateway Road.  In addition, there are now letters of support from the great and the good, including Amber Rudd, Gregory Barker, East Sussex County Council, the Let’s Do Business group, University of Brighton, Trinity College Cambridge (who stand to benefit more than anyone from the new road, as they own the land on which the ‘business park’ and housing would be built) and, curiously, the Chairman of Pestalozzi Village Trust.  That none of these people could be bothered to support the proposal on its own merits and in the correct time period, says much about their confidence that this road will get the go-ahead.

However, the fact that John Shaw, CEO of Sea Change, has apparently felt the need to spend so much time soliciting support for his road, says a great deal about how unpopular it really is.

If you haven’t objected yet, it’s not too late.  The earliest the planning application could be heard is at the Planning Committee meeting on August 22: comments can be received until 9.30am that day (don’t be fooled by the date of July 24 on the Rother website).   Object here (click on the “Comment on this application”).

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