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Bexhill-Hastings: Cost of evictions

Combe Haven Valley
A road protester and bailiffs last month Credit: PA Wires

Taxpayers have been left with a bill of almost 690,000 for evicting activists and securing the site of a controversial road building project in East Sussex.

Campaigners against the Hastings to Bexhill link road set up camps, locked themselves in tunnels and stationed themselves up trees.

Combe Haven Valley
Protesters are helped from the site in January Credit: PA Wires

The protest, dubbed "the second Battle of Hastings", led to the arrest of 28 people, amid fears the £93 million road would lead to more pollution and damage the environment.

East Sussex County Council said the bill for removing the protesters and securing the site in the threatened Combe Haven Valley, near Crowhurst, had been "an unnecessary additional cost".

It said the bill is on top of the £4.5 million already built up from judicial delays into the road scheme, which aims to regenerate one of the poorest economies in the South East.

Combe Haven Valley
Workmen clear the area of the Combe Haven Defenders base camp Credit: PA Wires

A county council spokesman said: "To secure the site and remove protesters from trees and tunnels has required highly-trained specialist staff.

"This is a significant sum but this was a significant protest. To remove safely people who have locked themselves in tunnels and to trees requires very specific skills and expertise.

"We will continue to work with security and the police, where appropriate, to ensure any preparatory works can continue to be carried out safely."

Canoeing grandmothers join road protest

Campaigners at Combe Haven Valley were moved on by bailiffs earlier this week.
Campaigners at Combe Haven Valley were moved on by bailiffs earlier this week. Credit: PA

Grandmothers will gather in Combe Haven Valley in East Sussex this morning in the latest protest against moves to build a £94 million link road.

Councillors say the road between Bexhill and Hastings is vital to regenerate the local economy, leading to 2,000 new homes and hundreds of jobs.

However, protesters have been gathering at the site since Christmas, with three camps dismantled by bailiffs in as many weeks.

Organisers say the grandmothers will sail parts of the flooded site in kayaks.

Local grandmother Rosamond Palmer said: "Combe Haven floods, it is a flood plain and therefore a stupid place to build a road. As local senior residents we want to express our opposition. Fortunately being sensible older women, we brought our boats."

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Can Battle site stop controversial road?

They've tried to stop the road by pointing out the damage it's doing to the countryside, now protesters against the Hastings to Bexhill link road are highlighting the damage it could be doing to history.

They claim the route will cause permanent damage to the site of the Battle of Hastings which they say is in the path of the new road.

Andy Dickenson reports and we hear from link road campaigner Michael Bernard and Gregory Barker, MP for Bexhill and Battle.

"Battle of Hastings" gathers pace with High Court bid

Campaigners against a 94 million pound relief road between Hastings and Bexhill are trying to take their fight to the High Court.

Local historians believe the proposed route could cut through the site of William the Conqueror's base camp of 1066 - a view disputed since it would place the Battle of Hastings at Combe Haven Valley and not Battle Abbey.

Campaigner Michael Bernard has been speaking to ITV News Meridian

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