Below is what we said in July 2002, but click here for the bad news!
Minister of Transport John Spellar Announces Government Rejection of By-passes
Could a Similar Scheme Re-surface as Part of the South Coast Corridor Multi-Modal Study?
If anyone had said to me on February 14, 2002 (The day the very powerful yet un-elected South East England Regional Assembly voted to recommend to Government that the Hastings bypasses should be built) that the Government would, on July 12 scrap all plans for the scheme, something may have made me think. What's the catch?
Yet here it is (click here to read Gvt press release) the amazing news that after 4 years of eating and breathing the stop the Hastings campaign, all the hard work by members of the many groups, the consultants Paul Graves-Brown (Field Archaeologist), Keith Buchan (Transport), Emma Must (Inspiration) and all the other troops who provided the valuable snippets of info which helped defeat the grim plan.
So what now? I think one word vigilance. Hastings still has traffic problems and there are many unemployed. Our actions in stopping the bypass must not be seen as anti Hastings. In the coming weeks our efforts must go into promoting subsidised public transport schemes and strong lobbying of Go-via to convince them that there is a future for the South Coast Railway. Their future is in now making a solid commitment to the South Coast by ring fencing money to upgrade the Ashford to Hasting line as a start into making the south's railway's a network one to be proud of.
Clearly we have made the mistake before in thinking a road scheme had been dropped, only to see the threat return. We can't afford to make the same mistake again.
Here's a reminder of the threat.
1. Plashet and North Wood - both ancient woodlands.
2. The plans for the bypass here involve 'leveling out' (!) the valley to enable the road to pass above the Hastings - Ashford railway line.
3. A rare fish - The Bullhead (protected under the EU habitats directive) - is found here. Also one of the streams here in the upper Brede Valley is a 'Ripple Stream' - used by sea trout as a route to spawning grounds.
4. Luckhurst and Oak Wood - both ancient woodlands.
5. Baldslow Wood - Ancient woodland to be cut in two by the road. Dormice (protected under the wildlife and countryside act) are found here.
6. Beauport Park - overgrown 18th century parkland with lots of archaeological remains and exotic trees.
7. Area's defined as 'development area's'.
8. Hollington Valley 'Site of Nature conservation Importance' (SNCI) - damaged by the road.
9. Marline Valley / Park Wood SSSI - Sussex Wildlife Trust Reserve. It's unusual 'Gill' stream is extremely sensitive to pollution, such as road run-off. 'D' shows where Dormice have been found.
10. Wishing Tree SNCI - affected by the development area, and just by the road. Despite the railway line, a good ecological link with Coombe Haven SSSI.
11. Coombe Haven SSSI - one of the last functioning floodplains in Sussex, and a lovely spot!
12. 12 metre high viaduct here. This will: i) take land. ii) Disrupt the hydrology. iii) Disturb and possibly kill waders - during construction (which will take years) and operation. iv) Pollute the ditches, which are teeming with life. v) Be very very ugly.
13. Worsham Industrial Area - A business park and 1500 homes are planned here. This is one of the main reasons for the Western bypass - to 'revive' Hastings and Bexhill - and the Western bypass cannot function without the Eastern section as well.
14. Combe Wood ancient woodland and the disused railway SNCI between the Industrial area, the bypass and the new Bexhill Northern approach road. These are likely to be destroyed.
15. Bexhill Northern Approach Road (BNAR) - goes through the development area.
16. Cole Wood - ancient woodland part of the 'Buckholt Farm Woodland Complex' SNCI. Another good ecological link to Coombe Haven.
17. Kiln Wood - Ancient Woodland.
18. High Woods SSSI - Ancient woodland, and, very excitingly, the 'only sessile oak coppice in East Sussex'. (Be still my beating heart).
19. Barnhorn Levels - Formerly classified as part of the massive Pevensey Levels SSSI, one of the best wetlands in the country. Trashed by intensive agriculture, apparently it has tremendous potential for restoration - But not with a superhighway!.
20. Flyover - or 'Grade Separated Junction' to you - planned here.
Click here for pictures of Coombe Haven
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