Friday, 2 March 2012

Come on Hastings - ditch that crazy Link Road!

Excuse this presumption from a Hastings newcomer, but I just thought I'd write this little rant about the proposed new Hastings-Bexhill Link Road before going on holiday.

Today we were trundling along the Ridge at 25 mph behind a queue of traffic with a learner at the head of it.  What on earth can anyone be thinking of if they are imagining diverting more traffic onto the Ridge, from the proposed new Link Road, to join up with the Rye Road at Ore?  The Ridge is a poor road, and at maximum capacity now.  Many residential roads join it, plus the Conquest Hospital, the Fire Station, at least 3 schools, the Crematorium, the Industrial Estate... crrazy...

Then don't get me started on that idiotic junction where the Ridge and A21 cross - presumably, in the planners' brave new world, people would want to go whirling off there for the A21. Massive works would need to be done there to enable traffic to run smoothly.  And when they get onto the A21 - wow - what a cracking fast road that is!

Who is actually going to use the Link Road?  Sure, the road between Hastings and Bexhill is congested, but I guess most of the travellers are making short local journeys.  They are not going to want to go out of their way round the new road.  I really can't see how the Link Road will make the slightest difference to that congestion.

Cynically, one assumes that the real thinking behind the new road is solely about opening up new land for development, and that the pot of money available is from a fund earmarked for this purpose.  Increased amenities for local people are of no real significance, and I fear that those who try and sell us these supposed benefits are not telling the whole truth.....

It would seem to make clear sense that in order to realistically attract more development to Hastings, the first job must be to radically improve the A21.  The town will remain a deprived backwater until/unless this is done. (Don't get me wrong - we chose Hastings because it is a backwater! We love it!)

In Birmingham, we were friends with Professor Alan Wenban-Smith, who coincidentally was commissioned to report on the viability of the new Link Road, and who came out firmly against it.   He tells me that moves are still very much afoot to put the Link Road funding to better use.  Let us hope that the local authority/government or whoever has to make the final decision has the vision to come up with these better uses.....