Pop-up camp in Hollington Valley: Amber Rudd fails to visit

February 2, 2015 by combehavendefenders

tom tree pic

Up the trees in Hollington Valley

Planning decision on Queensway Gateway to be made Weds 4 Feb: please come to show your opposition to this road.  See here for details.

Brr, it was cold.  A few hardy souls braved the sub-zero temperatures and the snow last weekend to camp out in Hollington Valley, site of the proposed Queensway Gateway road.

We set up camp near the big oaks and settled down for an evening round the fire followed by a night of shivering.  By the morning, snow was falling hard, but we took comfort in reminding ourselves that it was not as cold as the winter in Combe Haven – plus, Hollington Valley has not one, but two, cafes within a couple of minutes’ walk.  This is protesting lite.

Up the trees again

Hollington Valley has a rich variety of habitats, including meadowland, ancient woodland, and carr (woody vegetation on the margin of a bog).  According to its designation report, ‘the meadow edge supports a mature woodland edge composition with ash, oak, sycamore, blackthorn, birch, elder, holly, bramble, bracken and rose species in an excellent habitat structure’.

All this will be lost if the road goes ahead.  As we climbed two of the large oaks near the Whitworth Road entrance to the site, there was a strong sense of deja-vu: how many more of our green spaces are going to be destroyed before those making the decisions realise how utterly short-sighted and destructive is their roadbuilding mania?

Friendly PLO turns up again

Visions of Combe Haven loomed large that morning, when we were met with a very familiar face.  Jason, one of the Bexhill-based police liaison officers from the Link Road protest (aka ‘Operation Polecat’), came along with no fewer than three of his Hastings colleagues, ‘just to say hello’.


Amber Rudd – never been to the valley….

By coincidence, MP Amber Rudd was holding a surgery in Sainsbury’s, right next to the site, while we were there.  She was somewhat alarmed to be confronted in the warmth and cleanness of the supermarket by slightly muddy and smoke-scented campers, keen to hear her views on the road.

Amber Rudd campaigned hard for the Queensway Gateway road (then known as the Baldslow Link), which she referred to as the ‘final piece of the jigsaw’ – the rest of the jigsaw being, apparently, the Bexhill Hastings Link Road.  Thus it was something of a surprise (or then again, perhaps not) when she admitted that she had never been to Hollington Valley, despite doing regular surgeries at Sainsbury’s, just a stone’s throw away.


Amber Rudd claiming credit for the QGR

And never going to come…

To be campaigning for the road without having the first idea of what it would destroy seems like the height of irresponsibilty, and we invited her to visit the valley the next morning.  To nobody’s surprise, she failed to show up, and undoubtedly will never see the valley unless and until it is covered in concrete.

That’s it for now.  But watch this space….




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