Council goes against the public’s choice for road

Work on the Bexhill to Hastings Link Road (BHLR) in April. SUS-140404-175213001
Work on the Bexhill to Hastings Link Road (BHLR) in April. SUS-140404-175213001

The name Combe Valley Way, selected for the link road, was not the people’s choice.

Just 198 people voted for it compared with 902 who wanted Robert Wood Way, in honour of the popular 28-year-old Bexhill soldier who was killed in Afghanistan.

The exact number of votes of the others on the shortlist was Kings Way – 243, King Harold Way – 131, Pilot Davies Way – 349, and Viking Way - 364.

The public was invited to vote on these six names and then the final decision was made by Rother District councillors at the planning meeting held at Bexhill Town Hall last Thursday (July 17).

A Rother District Council spokesman said: “It was felt the name was fitting as the road crosses Combe Valley and runs alongside Combe Valley Countryside Park. Councillors also felt the road name suggested by the public would highlight the presence of the park to residents and visitors. We asked residents for their views and this was taken into account when the decision was made, along with planning factors such as the need for names to be distinct, easily understood and recognised should an accident require the road to be identified to the emergency services.

“All votes were considered when the decision was made and we would like to thank everyone for their input. The names that were not selected may be considered for new developments around Combe Valley Way.”

It is an obvious disappointment for the parents of Mr Wood, a father-of-one, who had many friends and supporters in 1066 Country who were quick to vote online once his name had been accepted as a late arrival on the shortlist.

Rob, who attended Bexhill High, and joined the army at the age of 19 after working in Sainsbury’s and Macdonalds, saw his newborn baby just once before returning to Camp Bastion, where he died in a camp fire.

Noah is now three years old.

Mum Alison, of Turkey Road, Sidley, said: “I had steeled myself for this. I had a funny feeling they had already made up their minds. We haven’t got the main prize but if one of the other roads is named after him that would be a good thing.”

It was Cllr Stuart Earl who managed to get Robert Wood Way on the list for people to vote. He said: “I was disappointed that Robert Wood Way wasn’t chosen but Combe Valley Way I suppose it’s where the road goes through, so we have to accept that and hopefully one day we will be able to find another permanent memorial that will recognise his contribution to the town.”