Bexhill Link Road

A £92 million Bexhill Link Road Scheme opposed by conservationists was finally approved by the Government today.

Work can now start on a 3.5-mile single-carriageway road that will link the A259 in Bexhill, East Sussex, and the B2092 Queensway in Hastings.

As well as improving accessibility between the two towns, the road will allow the development of north-east Bexhill - the largest single development site in the area.

Various environmental groups have fought to stop the development going ahead, with a protest camp being set up.

The Government is putting forward nearly #57 million towards the cost of the scheme which should be finished in 2015.

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said today: ``This scheme will kick-start economic regeneration in a deprived area of south-east England and tackle problems of accessibility between the towns of Bexhill and Hastings.

``It will open up 52,000 square metres of land in north-east Bexhill for business development and housing and creating new jobs. The money we are putting into this scheme shows that the coalition Government is serious about investing in the infrastructure the country needs to drive economic growth.''

Campaign for Better Transport roads campaigner Sian Berry said: ``The decision to fund this damaging road is bad news for transport in Hastings and is an appalling use of public funds.

``The Department for Transport's (DfT) own analysis shows that the case for building this road is poor, and we believe the decision to hand out #57 million from the DfT has been pushed through by the Chancellor and his obsession with road building. It certainly has nothing to do with a rational transport policy.''

She went on: ``This road will destroy a vital area of open space for local people and wildlife in exchange for small time savings for a small number of drivers. On several nearby roads traffic and pollution will actually increase. The people of Hastings and Bexhill deserve better.

``The area would benefit much more from new housing and business developments close to the town centre and improvements in public transport, not traffic-generating roads.''

Speaking for local campaign group, the Hastings Alliance, Derrick Coffee said: ``We are hugely disappointed. That such a poor and obsessively-pursued road scheme has been given funding - and from the public purse in times of austerity - is extremely worrying.

``This road is little more than a speculative development promising environmental devastation on a grand scale.''