Link road - prosperity is Tory myth

I would like to take issue with Keith Glazier regarding his support for the Link Road (Sussex Express, July 18).

While I have great respect for Keith as the leader of the council, I would like to give readers some input from my attending the Link Road enquiry in December 2009, and my attendance at the Hastings Strategy Examination.

At the Link Road enquiry the county council said the prime need for the road was to remove traffic from the A259 coast road, it now (as many of us thought) is to build more houses.

I asked the county council how much they were going to pay for the land that they were going to compulsory purchase for the road. They replied agricultural value. I asked why can’t they compulsory purchase land for employment and housing. They said you can, but need a very good reason to do so.

My second question was how many people in Rother and Hastings are on the housing waiting list, also how many were unemployed. While on the day they did not know, the next morning they told me, rounded up, 10,000 unemployed and 4,000 on the housing waiting list.

I responded saying that’s a good enough reason to compulsory purchase the rest of the land for the welfare of the district.

But no, we have to sell the land at the market rate; Sea Space are seeking investors that will build work places that no one can afford; the developers will build affordable housing that will be taken up from the Greater London Council; and the market housing will be taken up by people moving out of London from overcrowding, mainly from immigrants in London.

Then at the Hastings Strategy Examination the cry was to get people back to work, create jobs. I said I considered two and a half million out of work as an achievement. I waited a few moments for the people to wonder what I was saying. I then said if we create all these jobs what will they make that you need? I pointed to those around the table and asked them what they could need, do you need two washing machines, two cookers, two televisions, two freezers? What are you desperate for? They wanted for nothing.

In Spain and Ireland the main problem has been building houses that people can’t afford. In Spain there are 500 repossessions a day, and do we need to do the same?

Of course we should not have two million doing nothing. Everyone needs a purpose – may be more job sharing, but you can’t have that where the higher rate becomes the going rate.

It is immoral to say to someone get a job, then pay them £6.71 an hour, then tell them they have to pay £600 to £800 a month rent or mortgage, because that is what the market sets.

I have written to the chief executive of the county council Beck Shaw, and asked why the council can’t compulsory purchase the rest of the land, employ a developer and build for about £85,000 and allow the people of Rother and Hastings to have a life. This should apply to all development land not just North Bexhill.

Keith Glazier’s suggestion that the Link Road will bring prosperity is a Conservative myth. With technology as it is, it will create debt and despair. We have the possibility of having driver-less trains and pilot-less aircraft. The answer is not a market economy that always goes for the highest price.

Cllr Laurence Keeley

Herstmonceux