We have been working with East Sussex County Council to manage the opening of a high-profile new road, designed to have a £1 billion regeneration effect on the surrounding area.

Combe Valley Way – formerly known as the Bexhill-Hastings Link Road – has taken ten years and over £120 million to plan and build. It opened to traffic today, 17 December.

The road has been long-awaited by most in the community because of its travel benefits and the economic boost it will bring by providing access to 42 acres of land ear-marked for development. This land has the potential to support up to 3,000 jobs and 2,000 new homes, creating a major new business and residential community to the north of the coastal town of Bexhill.

The road has also long been the object of controversy, attracting vehement protests from environmental campaigners. They originally attempted to prevent its development by physically obstructing its construction – leading to arrests – as well as bringing a High Court challenge.

We have worked closely with the East Sussex County Council team to manage the road’s launch by:

  • organising a preview event for councillors, business community members, stakeholders and the media to see the road just prior to its opening
  • articulating the economic rationale for the road
  • introducing the first business to benefit:  expanding leisure company Park Holidays UK is fully occupying the newly-built offices next to the road, securing 90 local jobs
  • revealing the road opening date to the general public
  • preparing for the likelihood of protest action. As expected, campaigners tried to obstruct VIPs from visiting the road and had to be removed by security guards and police

The road launch has resulted in considerable media exposure including news features on ITV and BBC TV news and BBC radio.