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It's all monkey business - CHD protest permission for the Queensway Gateway road (photo: CHD).

It’s all monkey business – CHD protest permission for the Queensway Gateway road (photo: CHD).

Road go-ahead a flawed decision, say opponents

The ”very serious issue of air pollution” was left on one side by the planning committee when it granted permission for construction of the Queensway Gateway road, say opponents Combe Haven Defenders. Nick Terdre reports.

To make their point, members of Combe Haven Defenders (CHD) posed as the three wise monkeys to send a message of “See no air pollution, hear no air pollution, speak no air pollution” to Hasting Borough Council (HBC), whose planning committee last month accepted the re-application from Sea Change Sussex to build the Queensway Gateway road.

The planning permission originally granted last February was quashed in July in the face of a looming judicial review of the planning committee’s failure to consider national and EU regulations on air quality and mitigate measures.

Running through Hollington Valley from Sedlescombe Road North to Queensway, the road will bring an estimated 24,000 vehicles a day through the local wildlife site, which, CHD points out, is described in the council’s designation report as “invaluable and irreplaceable.”

“Most of the councillors on the planning committee chose to not to see, hear or speak about the very serious issue of air pollution which would be caused by the Queensway Gateway road,” said spokesperson Emily Johns. “This is exactly what got the Council into trouble last time they passed the application.

“Hastings Council should not allow SeaChange to pull the wool over its eyes about this destructive and polluting road, and we would urge them to quash the planning permission immediately.”

CHD are critical about how the air pollution issue was handled at the recent hearing. “The applicant, local regeneration company SeaChange Sussex, subsequently adjusted the traffic figures for the road in order to be able to claim that the air pollution at human receptors was lawful,” they say.

“However, the applicant’s own documents showed that the road would still breach the critical levels set down for the protection of vegetation. The officer in charge of the case recommended allowing the application, despite acknowledging that it would breach air pollution critical levels as well as being ‘in conflict’ with four HBC policies on biodiversity and green spaces.”

There remains the possibility of a fresh legal challenge. Gabriel Carlyle, who applied for the judicial review in the High Court last year, tells HOT he is discussing the matter with his lawyer.

Deluges hit link road

Meanwhile recent heavy rains have left their mark on another controversial road project, the Bexhill-Hastings link road now known as Combe Valley Way, which opened in mid December. On two occasions, just before Christmas and just after the New Year, parts of the road close to the Queensway junction were left under water, though East Sussex County Council said that the full width of the carriageway was not affected, and the road remained open at all times.

“We have asked our contractors to investigate whether any changes are needed to the drainage system on this section of the Link Road,” a spokesman said.

Posted 15:26 Thursday, Jan 7, 2016 In: Home Ground

2 Comments

Please read our comment guidelines before posting on HOT

  1. Lucy Locket

    What a sorry state described in this article when a planning officer openly admits that the planning consent would breach air pollution critical levels, as well as being in conflict with four HBC Policies on biodiversity and green spaces. The recently ratified Hastings Local Plan was accepted by HBC with the Inspector’s recommedations agreed. Was all this lengthy Local Plan consultation a meaningless excercise?

    Comment by Lucy Locket — Tuesday, Jan 26, 2016 @ 10:32

  2. Fran H

    Is anyone monitoring what is happening to traffic volume now this new road is open, or whether any of the promises made about lowering traffic/pollution on existing roads will be met?

    I thought that living on St Leonards Marina, facing the sea, must mean little or no pollution, and was very shocked when I got a pollution meter which went straight into the red zone when I switched it on at rush hour.

    There doesn’t seem to be any improvement at all to the nose to tail traffic and awful fumes along the A259 from St Leonards to Bexhill. Is there any policy of directing traffic away from the A259 to the new road? If so it doesn’t seem to be working.

    Comment by Fran H — Monday, Jan 11, 2016 @ 20:21

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