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Hollington Valley SNCI. The proposed road would run through the middle of this picture

Hollington Valley SNCI. The proposed road would run through the middle of this picture

Significant and adverse impact on wildlife site

A report written by the Environment and Natural Resources Manager for Hastings Borough Council has raised serious concerns about the impact of the proposed Queensway Gateway road on the Hollington Valley Site of Nature Conservation Importance.

As you read this, bear in mind that the Bexhill Hastings Link Road is just one road building plan out of many proposed and pushed through by our current government, some to be built through Sites of Specific Scientific Interest, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, national nature reserves, ancient woodland, wildlife sites and national parks.

Protected areas?

According to a press release from the local environmental protection group, the Combe Haven Defenders: “The report was drawn up in response to the Environmental Statement submitted as part of the planning application by developer, SeaChange Sussex. It states that the proposed road would have a ‘significant and adverse impact on the entire northern part of the Local Wildlife Site’, such that it is likely to be ‘rendered unviable as a biodiversity area’.

“It also notes various failures in the environmental statement produced by SeaChange Sussex, including:

  • Failing to address how any wildlife mitigation measures would be monitored and funded
  • Failing to address the requirement on developers to show that the need for development outweighs any harm to the nature conservation interests
  • Failing to address biodiversity offsetting measures
  • Refering to outdated planning policies: ‘It would be difficult for the council to consider an application that relied on an out of date policy context from our previous Local Plan.’

“The report points out that although the current planning application is only for the road, future plans are for the whole of the northern part of the site to be developed for industrial use. Such additional development ‘may render any compensation and mitigation measures proposed for this application ineffective’.

“Emily Johns, spokesperson for Combe Haven Defenders, said, ‘We have been saying all along that this road would be disastrous for nature, and this report proves that we were right. If the road is allowed to go ahead, it will utterly destroy Hollington Valley. Our green spaces are vitally important not just for nature but also for people, and it’s crucial that we preserve them. We’re calling on Hastings Borough Council to refuse permission for this destructive and unnecessary road, and to save this precious site for future generations.’ 
”

Contact Combe Haven Defenders on 07565 967 250

 

 

Posted 10:30 Wednesday, Dec 17, 2014 In: Home Ground

8 Comments

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  1. paddy stephenson

    It is really sad and quite unnecessary to call a commentator on this site ‘stupid’ – stupid they certainly are not. We have witnessed a total failure to create any significant number of jobs within the existing business premises along Queensway, take up in the Priory Quarter is dire, and now the intention is to build yet more commercial premises – but not before this important Local Wildlife Site is completely destroyed in the process.

    The Sea Change spokesperson should give us all a bit more credibility – who do they think they are fooling here? As Ms. Needham says, the only reason for the road is in order to allow Sea Change to build a business park…and no amount of fancy talk can disguise this fact.

    How many more commercial premises does Sea Change intend to build? Are they accountable to nobody when their endeavours result in total failure? Or is Sea Change untouchable?

    Comment by paddy stephenson — Tuesday, Jan 20, 2015 @ 14:32

  2. Andrea Needham

    SeaChange’s comments above are utterly disingenuous. They say that the environment manager’s criticisms are about the impact of future development of ’employment sites’ rather than about the road. But the only reason for the road is in order to allow SeaChange to subsequently build a business park, so to consider it in isolation makes no sense whatsoever.

    And given SeaChange’s appalling record in filling the sites already built (http://hastingsonlinetimes.co.uk/hot-topics/home-ground/enviro-21), why should we believe that this one is going to be any different?

    Comment by Andrea Needham — Tuesday, Jan 20, 2015 @ 13:15

  3. Chris Cormack

    A spokesperson from Sea Change Sussex has asked me to add the following comment:

    Hastings Borough Council’s Environment Manager’s comments about environmental impact are primarily about the effect of the development of future employment sites in this part of Hastings, not the impact of the Queensway Gateway road we’re proposing.

    So we believe the comments relate to Hastings Borough Council’s allocation of this area in its Local Plan for development to support local job creation – and are for Hastings Borough Council as the planning authority, and East Sussex County Council as the landowner, to consider.

    Our current planning application is only for the Queensway Gateway road, not for future employment sites. And we’ve developed our road proposals with expert advice from ecologists and landscape architects to ensure we’d minimise the environmental impact of this road.

    This includes comprehensive ecological surveys and a range of proposed mitigation measures. For example, we’ve planned the road route to avoid impact on an area of ancient woodland. We would adopt best practice measures to minimise the impact on protected animal species during construction and in the long-term. We would provide a comprehensive landscape package including substantial tree planting along the road as compensation. We’re also proposing an attenuation pond which would incorporate native aquatic planting of value to wildlife. End of quote.

    I plan to write an article to examine Sea Change involvement in regeneration of our town from a less hostile point of view.

    Comment by Chris Cormack — Tuesday, Jan 13, 2015 @ 09:33

  4. Nick Weekes

    This really is the true “road to nowhere”. The future road network around Hastings is starting to look much clearer now though.

    There is some obvious logic in linking the coastal road across the marsh to Ashford and “The corridor”. That logic evaporates when you consider all the A21 and A259 traffic being funnelled through Little Common.

    Stand by for the next big road building event then…

    Comment by Nick Weekes — Friday, Dec 26, 2014 @ 12:43

  5. Andrea Needham

    It’s not clear that Roy James, who has posted a very rude comment above, has actually read the article. The road being referred to in the piece – the proposed Queensway Gateway road – has not yet been built, so how Mr James manages to use it in rush hour is something of a mystery.

    However, to address his point about traffic congestion (albeit on a different road): many people seem to think that the Queensway Gateway road is the answer to the congestion which will almost certainly occur on the Ridge when the Link Road opens.

    This is simply wrong, according to road developer SeaChange, which states: ‘while many local junctions are indeed already busy during peak periods and are forecast to continue being so – with or without this scheme – the new road would have a negligible impact on this and was never intended to address this issue’ (http://hastingsonlinetimes.co.uk/hot-topics/campaigns/sea-change-respond-to-chd).

    In fact, the traffic survey submitted as part of the planning application for the road shows that at most junctions, congestion would be *worse* with the new road than without.

    Add in the fact that the road and the planned industrial units – which are the reason the road is being built – will completely destroy the Hollington Valley Site of Nature Conservation Importance (described in its designation report as a ‘major wildlife corridor’ and an ‘invaluable and irreplaceable habitat’), and will take millions of pounds of public money (£15m just for the road; the industrial units will be in addition to that), not to mention the very many empty industrial units (also developed by SeaChange) just a stone’s throw from this proposed site, and what you get is an absolute disaster, both environmentally and financially.

    It’s still not too late to object to this appalling project: see https://combehavendefenders.wordpress.com/2014/10/23/3889/ for how to do it, and do it before January 7th.

    Comment by Andrea Needham — Tuesday, Dec 23, 2014 @ 16:18

  6. Zelly Restorick

    Hello Roy,
    My colleagues at HOT stated their concern about your comment, because of your use of the word ‘stupid’ – this being somewhat derogatory towards Barbara and her comment. However, I feel you should be allowed to have your say, even though your language is questionable.
    From what I understand about the road, it has been claimed by ESCC/HBC and RBC that it will end traffic problems. Others say that traffic will increase or simply be moved from one area to another. If one drives, one must be aware that traffic jams are a potential hazard, simply due to the number of drivers on the road. Alternatives – such as more buses and a railway station at Glyne Gap – have been suggested, but it seems that more roads is the choice of the current government. However, if one looks behind the scenes at the Bexhill Hastings Link Road story, one will find all sorts of differences of opinion between the Chancellor’s office [which agreed the road] and the Dept of Transport, who said that this road wasn’t really that good an idea and that the facts and figures submitted by ESCC were simply not entirely accurate. Trinity College in Cambridge also has a lot to gain from the road, as do all the inter-connected developers and road lobbyists. There is much money to be made from ‘building infrastructure’ – and my gut feeling is that it is not concern about people’s ease of mobility that is the motivating factor. For my own part, I was in despair that the road was to be built through an Area of Exceptional Tranquility [ESCC quote about Combe Haven Valley]; seeing trees cut down and whole swathes of countryside destroyed, including other species’ habitats, was heart-breaking. Please may I point out that my views do not represent the views of everyone at HOT. Respectfully, Zelly

    Comment by Zelly Restorick — Monday, Dec 22, 2014 @ 07:39

  7. roy james

    I guess Barbara you dont use the road at rush hour like me,otherwise your stupid comment would not arise.

    Comment by roy james — Saturday, Dec 20, 2014 @ 23:24

  8. Barbara Rogers

    Brilliant. This offers real hope of stopping it.

    Comment by Barbara Rogers — Wednesday, Dec 17, 2014 @ 17:28

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