BP Oil UK has reapplied for planning permission to put a filling station and shop at the top of Udimore Hill on the outskirts of Rye despite being turned down before. A reader has written in this week with more detail.
The new application will be considered by Rye Town Council’s Planning Committee next Monday, March 12, before it goes to the planning authority, Rother District Council (RDC).
The proposed filling station would be on a flat field at the top of the hill past the roundabout where a side road descends steeply into the recently completed Valley Park housing development.
The Valley Park housing starts level with the top of existing housing along Udimore Road and extends downwards along a narrow valley towards Tilling Green.
BP’s previous application was refused because it extended Rye’s boundary outwards and would affect an area of outstanding natural beauty (AONB).
When the Valley Park housing was approved the Planning Inspector said “it could be contained within the landscape and sit comfortably within the context of the adjoining development”.
Rye’s Neighbourhood Plan’s Steering Group (RNPSG) agrees that the town needs another filling station but says “this is the right proposal in the wrong place”.
BP contends however that alternative sites lower down are subject to flood risk and their proposal is just an extension to the Valley Park housing.
However the Valley Park developers Aroncorps, while managing to squeeze in an extra 30 homes so that a total of 165 dwellings were finally built, were not allowed to build on the top of the site where a large open space now separates the housing in the valley from BP’s site on the hilltop.
BP ais expected to be represented at the meeting in the Town Hall in Market Street from 6:30 pm on Monday, which is open to the public.
The RNPSG will be represented by vice-chairman Anthony Kimber who has circulated to Rye Town Council a lengthy and detailed response to BP’s application.
BP’s planning consultant in the meantime has also submitted extensive comments on the draft Neighbourhood Plan as part of the current formal consultations.
The RNPSG however “has some difficulty with the arguments put forward [by BP] and as they have wider impacts for the RNP they will need to be considered carefully and in conjunction with RDC Planning Officers”.
The B2089 Udimore Road, where BP wants their filling station, is already extremely busy, with roadside parking sometimes causing problems. The Valley Park housing adds to the volume of traffic and the RNPSG believes BP’s plan can only make things worse.
Indeed the RNPSG has suggested alternative sites along the strategic A259 main road instead. Monday’s debate may be lively.
Photos: Rye News Library