December 10, 2015 by combehavendefenders
The planning application for the North Bexhill Access Road, which was expected to be passed at the Rother District Council planning committee meeting on 10 December, was unexpectedly withdrawn by SeaChange Sussex just two days before the meeting. And it turns out that once again – as with the Queensway Gateway road (QGR), SeaChange have been tripped up by the issue of air pollution.
Combe Haven Defenders submitted an objection to the road on 3 December, stating that:
‘There appears to be no data on air pollution at ecological receptors, only on residential receptors. The developer is required to provide data for both kinds of receptor. Planning committee members should look closely at the recent case of the Queensway Gateway road in Hastings, where permission had to be quashed because the planning committee had ignored unlawful levels of air pollution.
The road will pass through an area which currently must have extremely low levels of air pollution. It passes within 3m of a stand of ancient woodland, and it would seem impossible that the 12,313 vehicles predicted to use the road every day could not cause a huge – and possibly unlawful – increase in air pollution. Committee members should insist on SeaChange providing data for air pollution at ecological receptors.’
Just five days later, on 8 December, John Shaw, Director of SeaChange, wrote to Rother council to withdraw the application. In his letter he says:
‘I am writing following receipt by the council of representations concerning the absence of environmental information on the potential effects of vehicle emissions on areas of ancient woodland. We are proposing to review this issue, which may result in the provision of further environmental information. As a result, in order for this review to take place, I would be grateful if you would kindly withdraw this item from Thursday’s plannning committee agenda.’
It is astonishing that – after the fiasco of the QGR – SeaChange should be so blasé about their next application. Years of experience of having carte blanche to do whatever they want in our area with no accountability, no transparency, and a guaranteed constant injection of public money, even when their projects keep going belly-up, has obviously made John Shaw and his cronies think they can ride roughshod over the people of East Sussex.
Legitimate concerns about destruction of the countryside, loss of biodiversity, habitat loss, increased carbon emissions, wasted public money, job creation schemes that create no jobs, are all dismissed as the concerns of a few unrepresentative protesters.
Although this is only a temporary setback for SeaChange, it gives opponents more time to gather objections to this destructive, costly, climate-change creating road which nobody – except presumably SeaChange and Rother Council – appears to want. If you haven’t objected yet, you now have more time to do so – or you could wait until the new environmental information appears. To object, go to this page, and click on ‘enter comment’.
In his letter John Shaw says he hopes to have the road back on the agenda for the 15 January planning committee meeting. If you haven’t objected yet, do so now.