The Town Meeting, held this year at Rye Community Centre on March 6, always has an open session for questions, concerns and issues from the audience, following on from the invited speakers and the Mayor’s overview. After speakers from Rye College and Rye Primary School, dealt with in another article in this issue of Rye News, the questions and issues raised this year were more about the “ housekeeping” of Rye. Questioners were concerned with the state of the local pavements, and rubbish and recycling particularly. The parking changes in Rye were mentioned only briefly.
The difficulty in getting around Rye opened the debate, with a vivid description the very considerable difficulty and discomfort experienced by Cllr Potter, using a small mobility scooter to reach the meeting. It wasn’t only the cobbles, historic features that have to be accepted, but the awful state of some of the pavements along the High Street and particularly Ferry Road and over the Railway crossing (pictured).
There are holes and dips across the town, often caused by the delivery lorries and cars parking on the pavements. This makes it really difficult to maintain the surfaces and in many cases, it may be fine for walking on, but a nightmare for people with walking frames and wheelchairs.
Whilst the audience acknowledged the crowded car parks at the market and on the Salts, the participants mentioned both Gibbet Marsh and the two car parks in Winchelsea Road. Cllr Fiddimore noted the few spaces taken up in these car parks. This led to discussions on suitable signage to encourage their use, but it was pointed out that part of the problem plainly lies with the reluctance of some people to walk any distance at all to carry out their business.
Cllr Pat Hughes informed the meeting that the 326 bus service visits the Gibbet Marsh car park 10 times a day, Monday to Saturday, and a timetable is shortly to be put up, much welcomed by the audience. She also asked older people to check the expiry dates on their bus passes, and if the pass is not in use, to return it, as each one incurs a charge for the local council.
Dr Andrew Bamji drew the attention of the meeting to the online reporting system for damaged pavements on the RDC website, where photos can be added to any reports and a 48-hour response is then made.
Mrs Pamela Buxton suggested the idea of a Park and Ride scheme, and it emerged that it was one of the options to be discussed by Rother District Council in its systematic review of parking locally. Cllr Hughes pointed out that Park and Ride schemes have to be paid for, and costings for a limited scheme had come to more than £10,000 a year.
Rubbish and recycling were also mentioned, and note was made that the recycling bins in use on Gibbet Marsh had been resited at the Leisure Centre, where they can be monitored to prevent the misuse and mounds of rubbish that were being left at the original site.
Issues about the state of the play equipment at Tilling Green, the rubbish on Tilling Green footpath and on the Rye Harbour /Military Road were raised by Mr Boynton, though no immediate solutions to the rubbish problems were proposed, and the meeting was informed by Cllr Lord Ampthill of the change of the rubbish and recycling contractor to Biffa, by October of this year.
Mr Mike Eve wanted to raise issues about the planning strategy for the region and the length of time it took to agree on the future development, particularly the sites along the A 259, which led Colonel Anthony Kimber to remind the audience of the advantages of agreeing the Rye Neighbourhood Plan, due to go to a public referendum shortly, and both talked of some of the complexities of developing land, not least the complication of land ownership in Rye.
The meeting was closed by the Mayor, Cllr Michael Boyd, when all the questions and concerns people wanted dealt with, had been raised.
Image Credits: Rye News library.