Campaigners take to trees as contractors fell in nesting season to make way for new Hastings Road

March 11, 2015 by combehavendefenders

IMG_2748Press release
Combe Haven Defenders [1]
Wednesday 11 March


Local residents were out in Hastings early this morning to protest against the felling of large numbers of trees on the Hollington Valley Local Wildlife Site. SeaChange Sussex, the local ‘regeneration’ company, was recently given planning permission [2] by Hastings Council for the £15m Queensway Gateway road [3], which will run across Hollington Valley.

As at 10.15am, police were on site and at least one campaigner had climbed into one of the trees. The Queensway Gateway Road is an extension of the controversial still-being-built Bexhill-Hastings Link Road, which was the site of major tree and tunnel protests during the winter of 2012/13 [4].

IMG_2724Contractors moved in yesterday to fell the largest trees on the site, prompting outrage from local residents. Hollington Valley is described in its designation report [5] as ‘an invaluable and irreplaceable habitat for the people of Hastings to enjoy’, and ‘one of the best wildlife habitats in Hastings’. Almost five hundred people had objected to the planning application for the road [6], but it was passed unanimously by Hastings Council with only ten minutes’ debate [2]. The felling is taking place during the nesting season (March – August) which the RSPB advises should be avoided [7].

The purpose of the road – previously called the Baldslow Link – is to allow access for a large industrial estate which will cover most of the rest of the site. SeaChange Sussex claims this will create 1370 jobs, but currently is unable to fill two similar sites nearby, Enviro 21 [8] and North Queensway [9].

IMG_2795Combe Haven Defenders spokesperson Emily Johns said, “SeaChange Sussex is being allowed to completely destroy this beautiful and irreplaceable site in order to build a road and yet more white elephant industrial estates. At a time when we are facing catastrophic climate change and species loss it is utterly irresponsible to be pressing ahead with projects of this kind. We need to protect and enhance our green spaces, not allow them to be destroyed for the sake of profit. We call on SeaChange and Hastings Council to stop this work immediately.”


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