The government has confirmed it will pledge £56m to support an £86m link road between Bexhill and Hastings after a long-running battle for the scheme to go ahead.
The current proposed scheme is the latest in a series of proposals for development in the area and a Vinci Hochtief joint venture was appointed under early contractor involvement in 2009.
In its best and final funding bid submitted to the Department for Transport in September 2011, East Sussex County Council said more construction would be unlocked if the road got the green light, including commitments to 52,000 sq m of business space and 1,300 new homes in Bexhill.
In December, the Department for Transport announced more than £500m in funding for local authority projects, but did not allocate funding to the scheme.
At the time, the DfT requested further information and said: “Ministers recognise the critically important role that transport improvements could play in the regeneration of the Bexhill – Hastings area and the economic case underpinning the Bexhill – Hastings Link Road, though they are also aware of concerns regarding the proposed scheme, including its environmental impact.”
The 5.6km single carriageway will link the A259 in Bexhill with the B2092 Queensway in Hastings and provide access to areas identified for regeneration.
To implement the BHLR, 21 new major structures plus an underground storm-water ‘balancing tank’, culverts and retaining walls will be constructed. The major structures include six overbridges and seven underbridges for the link road, six river crossings, for the Greenway, one river crossing for the Environment Agency and one pedestrian underpass.
There has been strong opposition to development in the region on environmental grounds. Craig Bennett, from Friends of the Earth, said: “This will be one of the most damaging road schemes in the South East of England and will do nothing to end our transport chaos.”
However council leader Peter Jones said: “Unlike other schemes, the link road is well advanced. It has planning permission, has been through a public inquiry process and there is a contractor ready to start work.”