Link road money subsidised ‘dramatic’ increase in value of Oxbridge college land, Councillor reveals
April 29, 2014 by combehavendefenders
LINK ROAD MONEY SUBSIDISED ‘DRAMATIC’ INCREASE IN VALUE OF OXBRIDGE COLLEGE LAND, COUNCILLOR REVEALS
Public money spent on building the controversial £113m Bexhill-Hastings Link Road (BHLR) has ‘dramatically’ increased the value of local land owned by the richest Oxbridge college, Trinity College Cambridge, a local Councillor has confirmed.
According to the Deputy Leader of Hastings Borough Council, Peter Chowney, land around north east Bexhill – site of the proposed North Bexhill Business Mall and a massive new housing development – ‘was going to increase dramatically in value if the link road was built, as it would then have access for development’.
Much of this land is owned by Trinity College, which has aggressively pursued a strategy of trying to persuade Rother District Council to allow as much development as possible. The richest of the Oxbridge colleges, Trinity’s landholdings alone are worth £800 million, and it also owns the Cambridge Science Park, the O2 Arena, and a 50% stake in a portfolio of Tesco stores, worth £440 million.
Defending the policy, Cllr Chowney writes that ‘[i]t was a key policy of the last government … to give substantial subsidies to private companies … to help regenerate deprived areas’.
Mr Chowney also revealed that almost £8m of public money is going to be used to subsidise the construction of the North Bexhill Business Mall (£6m) and the associated Bexhill Gateway Road (£2m).
A spokesperson for the Combe Haven Defenders said: “The Link Road may or may not lead to a limited number of new jobs for local people , but it will definitely lead to increased carbon emissions , the destruction of the Combe Haven valley, and big profits for the richest of Oxbridge’s colleges. The £113m of public money that’s being spent on the Link Road could have been used to help create a sustainable transport system for the area. Instead it’s being squandered on subsidising the profits of rich landowners and property developers.”
 Jobs forecast by ESCC are over three times the official Department for Transport analysis. According to Peter Jones, leader of ESCC, the Link Road will create 3,000 new jobs. According to the DfT, the actual number would be 900. Of these, 40% would likely go to people outside the area, leaving only 540 for local people. If the road comes in on cost (which is unlikely), this would mean that each local job created cost the public purse £168,000. (The cost per job of other government programmes is typically £20k – £30k)
 See http://hastingsalliance.com/2012/06/19/secretary-of-state-lobbied-as-rio20-approaches/. Road transport currently accounts for more than 20% of the UK’s domestic greenhouse gas emissions – see DfT factsheet here: . Ironically, on the Hastings & Rye Labour Party web-site Mr Chowney writes: ‘I believe the most important issue facing us today is climate change: if we can’t sort out that one, then we’ve all had it.’