March 7, 2016 by combehavendefenders
Combe Haven Defenders 
Monday 7 March
Contact 07565 967 250
Cost of Bexhill Hastings Link Road rises for the fourth time, to £124m
East Sussex County Council contribution now 126% higher than forecast
Campaigners have condemned East Sussex County Council (ESCC)‘s draft budget for 2016/17, which shows that the cost of the Bexhill Hastings Link Road (BHLR) has gone up for the fourth time, this time by a further £3.4m. The budget states that ‘there remains a risk of further increases’ .
This is the fourth cost increase since the project began. In January 2013, the cost increased by £6m . Just six months later, in July 2013, a further £13m was added . Then in January 2015, it went up by another £2.9m . Despite the latest cost increase, neither the Greenway – for pedestrians, cyclists and horseriders – nor the landscaping have yet been completed.
The latest increase means that the contribution from ESCC towards the road, originally £30m, has now gone up to £68m – an increase of 126% . The additional costs are attributed to extra construction costs, post-excavation archaeology, and consultants’ costs.
When funding for the BHLR was agreed by the Department for Transport (DfT) in 2012, the road was assessed as ‘low/medium’ value for money . The DfT thus breached its own guidelines – that only high or very high value projects should be funded – in order to fund the road. The BHLR had lower value for money and higher carbon emissions of any transport project funded at that time.
Combe Haven Defenders spokesperson Anthony Bradnum said, ‘We believe there is a very strong case to be made that ESCC deliberately underestimated the likely costs of the link road in order to obtain funding. Had the real costs been revealed at that stage, the road would never have been funded. This road has been a disaster for Combe Haven, a disaster for the environment and a disaster for the people of East Sussex, whose vital services are being cut at the same time as more and more money is being squandered on this road. We hope that lessons are learnt from this sorry episode and no more such destructive vanity projects are given the go-ahead locally’.
Contact 07565 967 250
 Cost when funding from Dept for Transport agreed: £86m of which DfT would pay £56m (see http://tinyurl.com/jckc545). Cost now £124m, of which DfT still pays £56m, leaving ESCC with £68m to pay