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The Queensway Gateway road has been extended to connect into Whitworth Road.

Construction of Queensway Gateway Road resumes

Sea Change Sussex has resumed construction of the Queensway Gateway Road after a long delay. The road is now following a temporary route while East Sussex County Council seeks to take possession of the area needed to fulfil its original trajectory through compulsory purchase. Nick Terdre reports.

Economic development company Sea Change Sussex has restarted construction of the Queensway Gateway Road (QGR) linking Queensway to the A21 on Sedlescombe Road North close to The Ridge. The work is being carried out by Breheny Civil Engineering.

Sea Change had to pause the project when it was unable to implement the original plan of taking over the site occupied by Bartlett’s Seat car showroom where the road is intended to connect to the A21 via a roundabout.

Instead a temporary alternative route has been approved by East Sussex County Council and the Highways Authority which sees the QGR connect to Whitworth Road which runs a few hundred metres to a link into Junction Road, the short and often congested stretch connecting The Ridge to the A21.

Sea Change says it aims to have the new road completed in early 2021. At this point the stretch of Junction Road from The Ridge to Whitworth Road will be closed, leaving traffic on The Ridge to make the longer journey to the A21 via Queensway and the QGR and vice versa.

Technical approval from ESCC and HA is still awaited for the connection between Junction Road and the A21 where traffic lights will be installed. The temporary link is expected to remain place for about 18 months, according to ESCC.

Map showing the temporary and permanent layout of the Queensway Gateway Road (image: Sea Change Sussex).

The western end of the QGR, which was built before the project was paused, runs 250 metres from a roundabout on Queensway to another roundabout halfway along, close to the entrance to Sussex Metals.

CPO deployed

ESCC is now preparing a compulsory purchase order (CPO) to acquire the property interests of the car showroom and some unregistered nearby parcels of land needed for Sea Change to complete the permanent link to the A21 – the company already owns the land, its spokesman told HOT.

The QGR was supposed to be operational by November 2016. Originally Sea Change planned to relocate the car showroom to a new site on its North Queensway Innovation Park, and in late 2017 obtained planning permission from HBC to built two units there, the other for Michael Tyler Furniture.

The western leg of the QGR: view from midway roundabout to Queensway.

But Bartlett Seat decided not to relocate and Michael Tyler changed its plans after being acquired by Danish company Hjort Knudsen. So the NQIP remains undeveloped.

The stated aim of the QGR is to improve traffic flows between the A21 and Combe Haven Way, the Bexhill-Hastings link road, which joins Queensway further south, and relieve congestion on The Ridge, Sea Change says.

The project was approved in late 2015 despite opposition by environmental group Combe Haven Defenders. Anger was also caused among walking and cycling groups in early 2018 when ESCC approved the transfer of £3m from walking and cycling projects to cover cost overruns on the QGR and Sea Change’s North Bexhill Access Road.

The South East Local Enterprise Partnership (Selep) accountability board was told in September that Sea Change expected to complete the QGR within the revised budget of £12m, comprising £10m from the government’s Local Growth Fund (including the £3m mentioned above) and £2m from Sea Change.

As is common with Sea Change projects, further economic and social benefits are claimed: in addition to the creation of 900 new jobs, the QGR and Bexhill-Hastings link road are expected to contribute directly to the delivery of at least 60,000 square metres of new employment workspace and the construction of 3,100 new homes in North Bexhill by 2028 as a result of improved connectivity, the accountability board was told.

 

The article was amended by Nick Terdre on 5 November 2020.

Posted 19:39 Wednesday, Nov 4, 2020 In: Home Ground

9 Comments

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  1. H Grigg

    Thank you Nick for the update. Planners love a ‘promise’ of new jobs. Apart from that, the other route to the A21 will be along to the roundabout at Harrow Lane and then down to the town as Maplehurst will be very busy unless that is closed, too, from the A21. We’ll have to work out a route to the A28. Long live the promise of the final phase.

    Comment by H Grigg — Monday, Nov 9, 2020 @ 19:20

  2. Ian Summerfield

    Odd. If they close Junction road then surely that spells disaster for those living on Maplehurst Road? It’ll be a big shortcut to get you on the A21 from The Ridge, even if it does mean a right turn onto the A21. I think they should close off one end of that road, they could residents which end to close.

    Comment by Ian Summerfield — Monday, Nov 9, 2020 @ 10:12

  3. Tim Barton

    ‘contribute directly to the delivery of at least 60,000 square metres of new employment workspace’?
    Nice little con to fool the blind. Like the town will be able to fill these with thriving businesses as austerity, brexit, covid-chaos & eco-collapse push us off the map. It would be funny, but it’s really not.

    Comment by Tim Barton — Sunday, Nov 8, 2020 @ 21:54

  4. Bolshie

    Thank you Nick for the feedback on my queries about the road. However, what I still cannot comprehend is how ESCC can step into the breach by serving CPO’s on property owners for a project created and financed by a private limited company – a private developer.
    As I am seeing it, this limited company behind Sea Change can get ESCC to do what they want – just because they have a few councillors who are directors of it.
    I am further reminded by Bernard’s reference to Queensway. Here land was handed over to then Sea Space (another name behind a private company) by HBC. Following that Sea Change as we know developed this land.
    Does the word “Nepotism” fit the description with all what goes on with this set up?

    Comment by Bolshie — Sunday, Nov 8, 2020 @ 09:33

  5. Bernard McGinley

    An illuminating article — thanks. Certainly the assertion that the new roads ‘contribute directly to the delivery of at least 60,000 square metres of new employment workspace’ sounds impressive. What of the existing newish workspaces in Havelock Road and Queensway, &c.? Years later, where are the jobs to go with them?

    Comment by Bernard McGinley — Friday, Nov 6, 2020 @ 16:43

  6. Nick Terdre

    Good point, Bolshie. The compulsory purchase order will be effected by ESCC. I’ve amended the story accordingly. Costs have yo-yo’ed over the years, from an original £15m down to £6m and up to £12m where they remain. Sea Change says there have been savings, such as using spoil from another project to build embankments.

    Comment by Nick Terdre — Thursday, Nov 5, 2020 @ 16:46

  7. Bolshie

    Now what I don’t understand about this mis-managed cost over run project is how a Sea Change a front name for a private limited company, known as East Sussex Infrastructure – Companies House registration (07632595 is able to Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) property.

    This is not a borough council or county project. What I am gleaning here unless someone can explain is that a private limited company can CPO anybody’s property?

    As this road has been languishing for some five years. Where did the latest funding come from and what has this road cost now?

    Comment by Bolshie — Thursday, Nov 5, 2020 @ 16:04

  8. H Grigg

    Finally we are on the way for this one after much usful debate with ESCC.
    H Grigg
    On behalf of the Park Wood Road Residents Association.

    Comment by H Grigg — Thursday, Nov 5, 2020 @ 10:36

  9. Bea

    What a disaster.

    Comment by Bea — Thursday, Nov 5, 2020 @ 10:05

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