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Rother District Council planning committee vote through the North Bexhill Access Road.

Rother District Council planning committee vote through the North Bexhill Access Road (photo: CHD).

Petition to bar further public funding for NBAR

Concerned at the propensity of road-building projects to bust their budgets, environmental campaigners Combe Haven Defenders have launched a petition against the allocation of any further public funds for the construction of Sea Change Sussex’s North Bexhill Access Road. Nick Terdre reports.

The CHD petition is aimed at SELEP – the South East Local Enterprise Partnership – which is providing the whole of the £16.6 million budget for the North Bexhill Access Road (NBAR), and is addressed to its new chairman Christian Brodie, who has a background in investment banking. Keith Glazier, leader of East Sussex County Council, is also named as a recipient.

CHD compare the unit cost for NBAR with that of the Bexhill-Hastings Link Road and other road-building projects,  and question whether it can reasonably be expected to be built within budget.

“The link road is 5.6km long, and so far the cost is £124.3m – that is, £22.2m/km – this figure is very close to the average cost per km of new roads calculated by the Campaign for Better Transport,” they say. “The NBAR would be 2.4km long, and at £16.6m in total, would work out at £6.9m/km – that is, around a third of the per kilometre cost of the link road, and around a third of the average per kilometre cost of other new roads.”

“It would not appear possible for the NBAR to be built for £16.6m,” the petition text states, “and it would seem very likely that SeaChange Sussex will return to SELEP to ask for more money at a point where the project is seen to be too far on to be abandoned. There is precedent for this locally: over the past three years, East Sussex County Council has agreed four separate increases in funding for the Bexhill Hastings Link Road. Currently, with the greenway and landscaping still unfinished, the road cost is 44% above the original predicted cost.

“It would be utterly wrong to allocate yet more public money towards the polluting and destructive North Bexhill Access Road, especially at a time when public services for the most vulnerable are being cut to the bone. SELEP must refuse to grant any further funds to the NBAR.”

Sea Change however expressed confidence in their cost estimate. “We have looked carefully at the costs and are confident this is an adequate budget for developing this scheme,” a spokesman told HOT. “We’re not aware of any additional costs that would be needed.”

When this article was due to be published, the petition had secured 165 of its target 200 signatures. No final date for signing has yet been set, according to CHD.

NBAR, which was approved by Rother District Council in February, is linked to other Sea Change projects aimed at building 3,100 houses and developing 60,000 square metres as business space in the countryside north of Bexhill.

 

If you wish to sign the petition, go to the CHD website.

 

Posted 16:02 Wednesday, Apr 6, 2016 In: Campaigns

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