Rother Council set to rubber stamp “Gateway Road” proposal in teeth of local opposition

August 21, 2013 by combehavendefenders

Press release
Combe Haven Defenders [1]
21 August 2013

Over 640 objections received as road backer refuses to forswear public money for project

rdc logoRother Distirct Council has received over 640 objections to the proposed ‘Gateway’ Road – aka the ‘link road to the link road’ – in north east Bexhill [2]. The Council’s planning committee looks set to rubber stamp an application for the project at a meeting in Bexhill this Thursday (22 August).

The controversial scheme – which would join the Bexhill Hastings Link Road to Wrestwood Road – is a key step in developers’ long-term plans to build a 50,000 square meter “business park” north east of Bexhill and a massive housing complex north west of Pebsham. The proposal has been widely condemned for the further loss of greenfield land that it will cause, as well as the damage to wildlife habitats, increased carbon emissions and the loss of amenity areas.

The ‘Complete Agenda and Reports’ for the meeting [3] state that ‘the principle of the road is not a matter for consideration by this Planning Committee’ (6.3) and that the only point that will be considered is ‘whether the proposed road reaches the high design expectations’ (6.5).

The developer of the ‘Gateway Road’ is Sea Change Sussex. Its CEO, John Shaw, was the Project Director and Chief Operations Officer for Sea Space, co-developer of the ‘Enviro 21’ business park on Queensway, St Leonards [4]. Launched in the summer of 2010, the £7.6m project – which received £4.6m of tax payers money – remained half empty two years after it was opened [5] and was put into receivership last November [6].

Earlier this year it emerged that Sea Change Sussex had asked its tenants in the Creative Media Centre in Hastings, and Innovation Centre in St Leonards, to sign factually inaccurate [7] letters of support for the road when it became aware of the huge numbers of objections received.

Combe Haven Defenders spokesperson Andrea Needham said, ‘Though Sea Change CEO John Shaw has refused to say how much it will cost, or where the money to build it will come from, the Gateway Road looks set to be another white elephant project benefitting no-one but a handful of developers at the expense of local people and the environment. Rother District Council looks set to rubber stamp this project tomorrow in the teeth of significant local opposition but this is only the beginning of the fight to stop this harmful project.”

[2] See section 5.8.1 of Section 5.8.9 notes that most of the 86 letters of support that were also received come from companies which are tenants of Sea Change Sussex – see note [7] below.
[7] The letter, hand-delivered to companies in both offices, stated that ‘…the premises I operate from is full,’ and that therefore ‘there is a need for further business space’.  Both claims appear to be incorrect however as the websites for both the Creative Media Centre and the Innovation Centre were both offering office space at the time. See for details.

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