Bexhill-to-Hastings link road's costs rise by £13m

Image caption,
Activists locked themselves in trees and tunnels at the site in January

The cost of a link road being built in East Sussex has risen by more than £13m, the county council has said.

The original cost of the Bexhill-to-Hastings link road, due to be completed in 2015, was £100m but extra money was needed to manage protesters, pay for contractors and fund contingency plans.

East Sussex County Council said the road was crucial for growth.

Anti-road activists were evicted from trees and tunnels in Combe Haven Valley near Crowhurst in January.

In a report due to be presented to the council, it said preparatory ground work had begun but the project was two weeks behind schedule.

However, it is still expected to be completed in May 2015.

'Road to nowhere'

Council leader Keith Glazier said: "This is a road that is really important to Hastings and Bexhill, and the whole of East Sussex.

"This is not just about road improvements - this is actually about following up our budget for growth where we've invested half a billion pounds in creating jobs for East Sussex."

The council said an extra £2.5m was needed to manage the protests by the Coombe Haven Defenders.

It said the increase in the contractor's target cost had risen by more than £4m and the rest of the increase was to act as contingency for any future possible problems.

One of the anti-road protesters, Andrea Needham, said: "They're throwing money at that project - about £110m already and they haven't even started building the road itself.

"It's really shocking that they're prepared to spend so much of our money upon this destructive road to nowhere."

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