Rye moved a step nearer having a binding Neighbourhood Plan for the town at Monday’s Town Council meeting. But when a public vote on the draft plan will take place remains uncertain.
The plan is now in its tenth version since work started in 2012, but recent changes have been mainly about points of detail and presentation.
The bulk of the work was done by the plan’s steering group following a survey of local residents in 2014 and further public consultations in 2016.
The plan itself can also only affect planning matters normally dealt with by Rother District Council and on which the Town Council can put forward its own views.
Some matters such as transport issues and parking are for the local highways authority, which is East Sussex County Council (ESCC), while government departments may be responsible for major issues like a by-pass or high-speed trains.
The plan does include some aspirations however on these wider issues, and ESCC has already begun the process of introducing civil parking enforcement.
The draft plan and full documentation can be found at www.ryeneighbourhood.org.uk.
The steering group, which comprises town councillors and other volunteers, and is chaired by the current Mayor, has publicised every stage of its activities on its website and made regular reports to the town’s Planning Committee and the full council.
Official consultation with a wide range of public bodies will now start, but much unofficial consultation has already taken place.
Councillor Andy Stuart wanted a longer consultation period, but failed to get support for this move.
Steering group vice-chairman Anthony Kimber said other councils had taken up to two years to get from this stage to holding a referendum on their plans. “And I’m not a betting man” he said when asked about when the public vote might happen.
However he pointed out that extensive consultation had already taken place in 2014 and 2016.
The photo above shows him (second from the right) at one of the exhibitions of the plan’s proposals in 2016. A further display, with an opportunity to make comments, is expected at this year’s Town Meeting alongside other publicity and opportunities for public comments.
Photo: Rye News Library.