Bill hits £700k to evict Hochtief/Vinci road protestors

Grant Prior 11 years ago
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The cost of evicting anti-roads protesters at Hochtief/Vinci’s £100m Bexhill to Hastings link road site has hit £690,000.

Campaigners have been occupying trees and tunnels since work started in December.

Police have arrested 28 activists so far.

An East Sussex County Council spokesman told the Hastings & St Leonards Observer: “To secure the site and remove protestors from trees and tunnels has required highly trained specialist staff at a cost of nearly £690,000 so far, an unnecessary additional cost.

“This is a significant sum but this was a significant protest which culminated in the arrest of 28 people.

“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.

“While we recognise the protesters do not support plans for the road, they should recognise this has followed the proper democratic process and has been subjected to legal challenge through the courts.

“It is absolutely essential we are now allowed to get on and build the link road which is so vital to the regeneration of one of the most deprived parts of the south east.”

Andrew Needham, of Combe Haven Defenders, said: “If by protesting we stop the road we will save a huge amount of public money.

“I would also say that ESCC has not yet got funding from the Government. But it is going ahead, and taking a big risk by doing all this preparatory work when it has no guarantee it will get the money. It was prepared to take that risk with our money.”

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