June 15, 2014 by combehavendefenders
Amber Rudd, MP for Hastings and Rye, has set out her vision for 2020. Those, like us, concerned about the destruction of our countryside will be pleased to hear that ‘My vision for 2020 is that we protect and enhance our environment and we increase our access to it’ (this particular part of her vision is not yet on her website, but has been sent out as an email to constituents who have signed up to her newsletter).
To this end, she says, she has been working with the County Council to ‘fulfil their walking and cycling strategy’. Who knew that East Sussex County Council – road lovers all – even had a walking and cycling strategy? Given the £57m they’ve thrown at the Link Road, it seems unlikely there’s much left in the transport budget to promote less destructive ways of getting around.
Distress to country park lovers…
Amber Rudd is very concerned about the construction of a new holiday home more or less in the country park (actually in Rocklands caravan park but looming over Ecclesbourne Glen). It has breached the planning consent in that it is far larger than it is meant to be; the owners are seeking retrospective planning permission, and there is a big campaign to get Hastings Borough Council to refuse it (you can see HBC’s response here).
Amber Rudd says, ‘I am very concerned that Hastings Borough Council have caused such distress and disappointment to country park lovers’, and goes on to say that she is willing to mediate between the various parties to find a solution.
But never mind Combe Haven…
It is staggering that Amber Rudd could express such concerns about the development at Rocklands whilst at the same time being the chief cheerleader for the Link Road. Whilst the new build next to the country park is undoubtedly an eyesore which we would like to see demolished (and several members of CHD have objected formally to the grant of retrospective planning permission), its impact is as nothing compared to the vast destruction being caused by the Link Road.
‘Protecting and enhancing’ the countryside?
Combe Haven – which Amber Rudd mentions as a place to which she would like to see better walking and cycling access – has been utterly destroyed. Meadows have become vast areas of hardcore; a rich and diverse ecosystem has become sterile and lifeless; animals have fled, and the sound of birdsong has been replaced by the sound of heavy machinery. Many people who knew and loved the valley can no longer bear to visit it.
Hypocritical and offensive
For Amber Rudd to tell us that her vision is to protect and enhance the countryside is not just laughable hypocrisy, but also extremely offensive. Her concern for the countryside extends only as far as the next election.
If you would like to give Amber some feedback on her Vision for 2020, you can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.