Press release: Council revokes planning permission for road promoted by Climate Change Secretary

June 30, 2015 by combehavendefenders

Press release
Combe Haven Defenders [1]
Tuesday 30 June

Contact 07565 967 250.


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Facing High Court Challenge, Council Accepts ‘Error of Law’ Over Air Pollution

Hastings Borough Council has acccepted that it made an error of law in granting planning permission for a new road scheme in the town. It has agreed to quash the planning permisssion, thereby avoiding a judicial review at the High Court [2]. The proposed new road is in the constituency of Amber Rudd, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, who has strongly supported the project, previously known as the Baldslow Link [3].

The legal challenge, brought by local resident Gabriel Carlyle, claimed that the planning committee should not have granted permission for the project as the road would breach national and EU laws on air pollution. Documents provided by developer SeaChange Sussex as part of the planning application [4] showed that the road would have caused breaches in nitrogen dioxide levels at several residential properties, as well as ‘significant’ acid deposition. The case comes shortly after a ruling by the Supreme Court that the UK government must take ‘immediate action’ to cut the levels of air pollution in Britain [5], and may have important implications for opponents of other road schemes.

The quashing of the decision was without prejudice to the other arguments raised in the case. It was submitted that Hastings Council further failed in not considering the likely increase of greenhouse gas emissions that would arise from the proposal, which would be contrary to any efforts the UK may be taking to tackle climate change.

The £15m road – the Queensway Gateway – was due to be built by local regeneration company SeaChange Sussex [6]. The purpose of the road was to open up access for SeaChange to build a business park on top of the Hollington Valley local wildlife site in Hastings, described in its site designation report as ‘invaluable and irreplaceable’ [7]. The road is the third of four road schemes to be built or proposed in the Hastings area in the past three years. The biggest scheme is the Bexhill Hastings Link Road, which hit the headlines in late 2012 when protesters occupied trees along the route for over seven weeks [8].

Gabriel Carlyle said, ‘I am delighted that Hastings council has recognised that they made an error of law in granting planning permission for this destructive road. If built, the road would have not only breached air pollution laws, but also destroyed an important wildlife site and caused an increase in carbon emissions. I hope that the council will now consign their road plans to history, and commit to properly preserving our green spaces.’

Stephen Joseph, Chief Executive of Campaign for Better Transport said, “This is a very significant case, with the council admitting they failed to consider the impact of the road on air pollution and wildlife. If they had considered this, they would have found the impacts unacceptable, and the only thing to do now is to restart their thinking from scratch and develop Hastings in a more sustainable way.”

More information:

Contact 07565 967 250




[4] (p11 onwards)





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