Were we daunted by the rain? We were not. Bryophytes love rain.

Over fifty people in bryophyte masks gathered at SeaChange’s North Queensway site to say no to their business park plans, which threaten Marline Valley.

Bryophytes – mosses and liverworts – are part of the reason Marline Valley is a site of special scientific interest (SSSI). According to the SSSI citation:

The stream valley supports 61 species of bryophytes (mosses and liverworts) including 3 uncommon ‘Atlantic’ species: Fissidens rivularis, Tetrodontium brownianum and Metzgeria furcata

This particular one was metzgeria furcata:

Participants heard from speakers about the history and ecology of the site, the total lack of sustainability of the proposed units, and the issues with SeaChange generally. There was also the chance to take a guided tour of Marline Valley with an expert guide.

Over 200 people, and many organisations, have objected to SeaChange’s plans for North Queensway. The leader of the Conservative group on Hastings Borough Council has called SeaChange ‘an unmitigated disaster’ (this may well be opportunism on his part, but nonetheless will make it more difficult for Conservative councillors on the planning committee to vote in favour of this project). John Shaw, director of SeaChange, is finally going to be asked to appear in front of the council. A few councillors – other than Green councillor Julia Hilton, who has been asking questions about SeaChange for some time – are finally starting to raise their eyebrows about what SeaChange has been allowed to get away with all these years. And many, many local people are starting to express their serious concerns about the way our public money is being spent by a company which trashes our green spaces, fails to produce the promised jobs, then walks away to the next project.

Things are moving. But the planning application is still waiting to be heard, and the campaign to protect Marline Valley continues. Watch this space.