Press release
Seachangewatch [1]
Monday 8 March 2021
Contact 07565 967 250

Photo: – Queensway Gateway road looking east. Please credit Seachangewatch

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Queensway Gateway road may not be completed until August 2023

Controversial 600m road would be over seven years late, 100% over budget

The controversial Queensway Gateway road in St Leonards may not be completed for another two and a half years, according to a recently disclosed document.

A report [2] due to be presented to funder the South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP) on 12 March states (p92) that the road will be completed ‘in January 2022 at the earliest’. However, it goes on to say (p94) that if a compulsory purchase order is deemed necessary, completion could be delayed by between six and 18 months. This could take the completion date (p96) to August 2023.

An earlier SELEP report [3] states (p101) that the road was due for completion in March 2016. SELEP gave developer SeaChange Sussex £10m from the Local Growth Fund towards the road. SeaChange Sussex is required to add a further £2m from its own reserves. The road was initially due to cost £6m but the projected cost doubled in 2018, and £2m was cut from the walking and cycling budget for Hastings to cover the overspend [4].

SeaChange cannot complete the project until a solution has been found to a new site for Bartletts SEAT car showroom, which sits on the spot where a new roundabout would join the QGR to the A21. The document [2] presented to SELEP noted that if the project could not be completed as planned, some or all of the £10m grant may have to be paid back by East Sussex County Council (ESCC) as the responsible body for the grant money (p97). However, £9.5m (p95) has already been spent, so in this situation, ESCC would have to find the money from its reserves.

Andrea Needham, spokesperson for Seachangewatch, which monitors the activities of Seachange Sussex, said, ‘This is yet another appallingly mismanaged SeaChange project. Millions of pounds of public money have been poured into this unnecessary, environmentally destructive project. It beggars belief that SeaChange could be seven years late completing a 600m road. And as usual, not a single elected councillor of any party is willing to speak out about the lack of transparency and accountability of this company, and the tens of millions of pounds of public funds that have been wasted in our town on projects that have utterly failed to deliver the benefits promised.’

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