Step up for election

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Another election looms

Potential town councillors heard at last week’s town meeting from Mayor Mike Boyd about the issues they could face over the next four years.

These include parking, housing, visitors to Rye, business needs and planning, as well as only partly solved issues such as the Landgate Arch.

The Mayor urged interested parties if they wanted more information about becoming a councillor to have an informal chat with the town clerk – who can also supply a nomination pack.

Nominations must be delivered to Rother District Council at Bexhill Town Hall by hand between Monday March 25 and Wednesday April 3. The election is on May 2.

Past Mayor Jonathan Breeds, the Town Clerk and current Mayor Mike Boyd lead the council in procession

Parking, a major issue since the police withdrew from any responsibility for parking problems, will be controlled by civil contractors from next year, and for this to be achieved on time by the county council, existing traffic controls must remain largely unaltered.

But the council has recently initiated the formation of a Parking Strategy Working Group to explore how off-street parking provision can be enhanced and promoted.

Grass cutting of urban verges is among the tasks now carried out by the town steward service as government cuts forced the county council to cut down on the cutting that it did do.

Landgate problem remains

Emergency repairs have been carried out to the Landgate, partly helped by town council money – but the long term future of the arch (much neglected by Rother District Council) is still in doubt.

Having thanked Anthony Kimber for his “colossal amount of work on the neighbourhood plan” the Mayor spoke about two projects opposed by the town council.

One was the proposed BP garage on Udimore Road just past the Valley Park housing and on the edge of on Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

The last consultation on the Lower School site was in 2016. Public interest was high

The other was housing proposed for the Lower School site near Ferry Road level crossing – where housing is planned, but not on the scale the developer proposed.

The council wants an “appropriate and sensitive proposal that addresses its concerns” which include parking and flood risks.

The council also gives grants in response to applications from community groups and these have included the community mini-bus service, windows for the Rye Community Centre, and the Christmas Festival.

Louisa O’Shaughnessy, the Heritage Centre Manager, shows off the Rye book section

Commenting on the Heritage Centre, the Mayor said it had been reviewing its strategy in light of disruptions to the visitor market (whether by the weather, or other causes) and was now sourcing much more stock produced locally – for both visitors and locals to buy.

He praised the centre’s team for “their superb restoration of the town model over the winter – it now looks positively vibrant. It is difficult to believe it is now 41 years old.”

Time to cut speeding

He went on to mention the Highways Forum (which includes councillors) and is looking to buy an SID (portable speed indicator device) which could be rotated around Rye roads that are well-known speeding hotspots.

Another step may be the introduction of appropriate town “gateways” which Highways England believe may be particularly effective in controlling speeds on the main approaches to built-up areas.

But that is an issue for the newly elected town council on May 2 – and any new councillors.

Image Credits: Rye News library, Kenneth Bird.

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