County backing "pivotal" link road

THE county council says it is pulling out all the stops to make sure the Bexhill Hastings Link Road gets the go-ahead.

The East Sussex County Council (ESCC) cabinet met last week to discuss the state of the county report and agreed the 95 million scheme, put on hold in June, was vital for the town.

In her report, chief executive Becky Shaw told councillors: "The link road is pivotal to the regeneration of Bexhill and Hastings. Lack of an effective transport infrastructure, in particular the lack of connectivity between the two towns themselves and with other parts of the south east, is a major factor in the overall economic and structural problems facing the area.

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"Proposals to address these problems have been central to strategic plans for the area over several decades. Consequently failure to deliver this project would result in further delay and decline in Hastings and Bexhill and leave no obvious solution to the serious problems facing the area.

"The link road is much more than a pure transport project. It is the single most important component for delivering the regeneration of Hastings. In the current economic climate it is even more important to regenerate the local economy, which will in itself reduce public spending by reducing unemployment."

Leader of Rother District Council Carl Maynard said it was a productive meeting, emphasising the role of the link road in regenerating Bexhill and the wider area.

"We clearly believe that the link road is vital," he said. "The business space that the North Bexhill development would open could be considerable for the regeneration of Bexhill and indeed Hastings. It isn't just about solving traffic problems.

"We have just got to make sure we keep lobbying local members of parliament and make sure we shout extremely loudly for any scraps left on the table."

Cllr Matthew Lock, lead member for transport in ESCC, said: "Cllr Peter Jones (head of ESCC), myself, Hastings Borough Council (HBC) and Rother District Council are all going up to London on a regular basis. Everything is being done behind the scenes."

A final decision is expected in the autumn.