Gateway plans could be major jobs catalyst

This is the first image of developers’ ambitious plans to create a gateway road between Queensway and Sedlescombe Road North.

The innovative Queensway Gateway scheme is aimed at creating jobs but could also alleviate a potential traffic headache on The Ridge after the Hastings-Bexhill Link Road opens next year.

Sea Change Sussex is proposing the development which would run between Queensway and the A21 near Sainsbury’s on land owned by the borough and county council.

Plans are expected to be submitted by tomorrow. If approved it would create three areas for mini industrial estates and work could start in the new year. A multi-million pot has already been allocated from central government through the South East Local Enterprise Partnership.

John Shaw, chief executive of Sea Change Sussex, said: “These are quite exciting times for Hastings especially on the back of the Link Road scheme. The funding for this road work has already been allocated by central government.

“It’s about a growth corridor between the Hastings- Bexhill Link Road and the Gateway. The pressure on the road network will be eased. We are working together in partnership and hope to get the plans in this week.”

Sea Change says it has recently been consulting residents who may be affected by the plans, especially those living in Maplehurst Road.

The county council would like to close the road at one end for the benefits of residents to stop it being used as a rat run short cut between the A21 and The Ridge and Harrow Road.

Tariq Khwaja, spokesman for Sea Change Sussex, added: “The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive because of the job creation aims as well as the spin-off benefits of diverting traffic. The main purpose of all of Sea Change’s projects is job creation. What this road would do is provide access to sites which have long been earmarked in the Hastings Local Plan as employment land. In other words it would make development of business premises possible on these sites, which should enable local firms to expand, attract companies from outside the town and provide more local jobs. An ‘economic impact assessment’ by consultants Genecon has shown that the sites could support up to 1,370 jobs.”

County councillor John Hodges, Labour’s lead member for transportation, economy and the environment, said: “This could bring jobs into Hastings and has huge potential.

“It could also be a major way of relieving pressure on Baldslow village and The Ridge.

“It could help tremendously in relieving potential traffic. It adds another option for drivers wanting to go along the coast to Ashford or for drivers going from south to north. There could also be a greenway for cyclists too which is more great news.”