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Battle of Bexhill

Update! A week of direct action against Bexhill link road.

“We were caught out and a lot of damage has been done – but people have been amazing and now we've have a set of established tree defences and work has stopped for the day at least. We really need support and all the usual wish-list stuff, tools, tarps, ropes etc. So come and give us a Christmas visit” - Combe Haven Defender

Maps of the planned road  (scroll down!) - the camp is at Adams Farm

Anti-road protestors in Bexhill were ambushed by an early start to the tree felling on the controversial Bexhill-Hastings link road this week, but they rallied and a week of constant direct action has put a spanner in the works, with no work reported today (Saturday 22nd). Work wasn't expected to begin until early January but as soon as East Sussex County Council acquired the land (by compulsory purchase) the chainsaw gangs were set to work.

On Thursday evening information was received that tree felling in Combe Valley was to begin on the route of the Bexhill-Hasting link road early Friday morning. As contractors with machinery moved into woodland near Adams Farm, south of Crowhurst early on Friday morning they were greeted by tree bound activists and locals who had been occupying the area since dawn. Contractors and security soon realized there would be no felling, with a early lunch called shortly after activists got in the way of brush cutters attempting to clear access to trees.

Saturday saw a large number of trees felled in a the disused railway cutting in the suburbs of Bexhill before activists (reinforced by a landy full of stray hunt sabs) climbed over the bridge and forced contractors to stop cutting. The protesters refused to leave after warnings from High Court bailiffs and followed the contractors to their next target a stand of trees to the east, which was already being occupied by a couple of enterprising locals who'd shinned up one tree with a ladder. Flummoxed,the chainsaw boys put their toys backin the van and called it a day.

With trees already falling, people once again gathered on Sunday in Bexhill and in Crowhurst at Adams Farm. Work was stopped in Bexhill with people once again entering the site. But contractors were able to fell a large area of trees before they packed up and left for their compound. Contractors attempted to continue their reign of destruction, showing up at Adams Farm once again. This time activists were in waiting with one man quickly locking on under a pick-up truck with two pairs of hand cuffs, blocking the site's only access point and causing the other vehicles to reverse away in fear of the same fate.

On Sunday forty people turned up to public meeting in the hamlet of Crowhurst about the plan for the bypass. One potential ray of light was the announcement of a new legal challenge by BLINKRR (Bexhill Link Road Resistance) . who claim that the new road is on the actual site of the Battle of Hastings and are aiming to get the whole area re-classifed as a World Heritage Site.

On Monday 17th, resistance continued along the route today with four arrests being made as bailiffs dragged local protesters out of the trees. Action to stop the felling of trees along the route of the proposed Bexhill-Hastings by-pass continued; with locals and activists on the ground preventing work. Tuesday saw locals occupy the disused railway track in Bexhill where treecutting was taking place, work was halted and security guards moved in pushing and shoving, with reports of the private security firm Sher Group dragging people from trees. On Wednesday trees in the valleycontinued to be felled with activists

blocking felling where possible. Rising early on Thursday two defenders were able to take position in a tree overhanging the proposed route of the road, well supplied they set up cover and ropes, greeting surprised chainsaw gangs as they arrived in the area ready for work. Support from locals and activists from across the country is rising, however more people are needed everyday if the road, first of the governments resurrected road building program is to be halted. If you can, travel down for a day or more, accommodation, support and gear is available. Contact Combe Haven Defenders for updates from the ground

 The good news is that although the tree-felling has started at the moment the council don't have the money and still have to jump through a few environmental regulation hoops – so the road could still be stopped.

SchNEWS spoke to Combe Haven Defenders “We've been heartened by the reaction of local people – who've come out to resist the chainsaw gangs. We see this as not just a local issue but a national strategic one. We want people to come down and action”

To get up-to-date information of what is happening on the ground and where you might be needed visit the Combe Haven Defenders website http://combehavendefenders.wordpress.com/

To get regular e-mail/text updates http://combehavendefenders.wordpress.com/pledge/

Sunday 16th - locked on activist
Local taken away in cuffs
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There are 9 comments on this story...
Added By: Anonymous - 16th December 2012 @ 11:55 PM
please come to Combe Haven and join in, we need more people urgently
Added By: Anonymous - 17th December 2012 @ 10:09 AM
People needed on the ground everyday, if you can get there please do! There are good rail links to Bexhill and Crowhurst from London and Brighton. This is the first of the governments new round of road building, so an important battle! Visit the website to stay updated: http://combehavendefenders.wordpress.com
Added By: Anonymous - 17th December 2012 @ 10:58 AM
Facebook event for emergency public meeting. Tuesday 18th Dec 6pm - Cowley Club. Please share!
Added By: Defender - 18th December 2012 @ 4:00 PM
If you can make it down to Hastings to take action, we may be able to find you a bed for the night with local supporters, please email us in advance at combehavendefenders@gmail.com
Added By: Bexhill Resident - 3rd January 2013 @ 6:50 PM
Sod off back to Brighton
Added By: St Leonards Resident - 3rd January 2013 @ 7:18 PM
Yeah I agree..... Take your environmental Luddism elsewhere. Go and turf over the Brighton bypass or A23
Added By: Bob Widdecombe of Hastings - 3rd January 2013 @ 9:19 PM
Really need to campaign to brick up the A23 and A27 so that Brighton can suffer the child poverty and deprivation that Hastings suffers.
Added By: Joseph (fairly neutral perspective) - 6th January 2013 @ 8:46 PM
so it's really interesting to hear from residents
i'm done with realising any sort of protest thinking (not condeming it either) and want the 'other side' so to speak... so if you want to email some views to someone who is near to completely unbiased (not looking to make a story or don't have a job related to anything here) then emails welcome: now is the time at rise up . net ...no spaces!

I think if more residents were to have a voice (they might do already) without media literally capitalising on it for their own means and benefit (maybe for advertising mostly) then perhaps people can let things be or focus on other things together without such emotion and frustration. I hope I'm that kind of person to can informally chat with without worry. I know it's not easy when passionate about things so I appreciate every reply to me. Having people speak without being shunned or having any consequences is my ideal to moving ahead with each other...
Added By: Armel - 12th April 2013 @ 11:38 AM
and who is the WE' you mention jean?this is a csilsac return to the 90 s conservative party Road building scheme(s) that led to roads being planned and built all over the UK to no ones benefit except, Governent ministers whom are share holders, non exec directors of such companies as TARMAC/McAlpine et al (amazing what an FOI request can show up).. this link'road will do nothing to ease any conjestion on the A259 and the excuse it will feed into the economic revival of our heritage coast seaside resorts is the biggest load of bunkem ever!I guess you're all for it due to living in Hastings and working in Bexhill(?) as this will be the only group' of people that such a destructive (environmentally and socially) will benefit by cutting a few minutes of journey time . another back handed route to building on green belt, that the Tory's and their new yellow lackies the Lib Dems just love..
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Twitter: @SchNEWS