Wednesday, July 26 2017

Published on May 19 2017. Opinions
Rye – The name without a town?
A town in decline?

Rye – The name without a town?

County elections over, we resign ourselves to another four years of non-governance and neglect, East Sussex county council having washed its hands of all highway issues and the desperate threats to our underfunded schools. Yes, or rather no, they cannot afford initiative or even continuity, barely able to pay the salaries of their (overworked?) employees – overworked and underpaid carers certainly, in social services, where cuts from central government are putting lives in danger; overworked staff also in the few schools still under their direct control (their neighbouring county council in Surrey successfully threatened to raise council tax – and were immediately bought-off in a secret and illegal extra-funding deal with Whitehall Tories. Are the Lewes Conservative apparatchiks behaving with too little masonic zeal?).

Non-governance and neglect would be less apparent were the other two layers of local government in any way proactive. But Rother District and Rye Town Council vie with one another in absentee somnambulism, eyes closed whenever they do attend, hands out in front of their faces to avoid cannoning into crumbling walls, long knowledge of historic potholes enough to keep them from serious injury. If their eyes are ever briefly open, they look around furtively, terrified of being approached by any of their constituents to whom they have promised action and reform.

Alas poor Rye, a viable town we no longer are. More like an empty crumbling shell – still visited by tourists who marvel at such general dilapidated shabbiness through choking narrow streets overrun by illegally parked trucks, vans and cars, road and pavement surfaces a dangerously uneven obstacle course.

Those of us who knew the town fifty years ago can only wonder with dismay at such a long and total decline. Not much chance of our shambolic ruin becoming the World Heritage Site it should long ago have been.

Photo: Rye News library

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