Rye Town Council has agreed to underwrite a £7,000 contribution to the cost of £74,000 urgent repairs to the town’s historic Landgate – but not without considerable reservations.
The Landgate, the last remnant of the town’s medieval defences other than the castle (see sign pictured above) , has been owned by Rother District Council (RDC) since the 1970s and much neglected in recent years.
A Freedom of Information request by a former town councillor highlighted how little the RDC had spent on maintaining the upkeep of the Landgate, and information was hard to obtain on the current condition of the Landgate – and the extent of the neglect.
However it became clear that RDC wanted to rid itself of any responsibility for this historic monument, and would spend little on immediate repairs.
But RDC is now proposing to spend around £70,000 on urgent repairs and has asked the Town Council for a £7,000 contribution, though until now RDC has spent only minimal amounts on cleaning and anti-pigeon repairs (see picture, right).
Former Mayor Cllr Shaun Rogers said at Monday’s council meeting that Rother had plenty of money in their reserves and he wanted the town council to reject this request.
However another former Mayor Cllr Bernardine Fiddimore believed Rother had changed its position. “At previous meetings with them” she said ” it has always been no-no-no. They have moved”. Cllr Andy Stuart also believed Rother had changed its stance.
Cllr Jo Kirkham, who had represented the Castle Museum in the Landgate talks with Rother, said looking after the historic castle was a nightmare – but the Town Council must be seen to support this move by Rother.
“The Landgate is too important to the town” she said.
However that still leaves unanswered the question about who will be willing to own and maintain the Landgate after these immediate repairs.
Photos: Rye News Library