What do we want?

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Rye Town Council with the then mayor (top row, centre) face the public at a previous town meeting

As Scallop Week comes to end with another busy weekend, another annual landmark looms on the horizon – the Town Meeting next Wednesday, March 6, from 6.30 for 7pm start in the Rye Community Centre in Conduit Hill.

But, first, back to the frivolities. Last Friday, February 22, railway buff and former politician Michael Portillo gave Scallop Week a fine send-off on BBC2’s Great British Railway Journeys.

And what was his view of this part of the Kent/Sussex border? Well it was a recipe of scallops, apples and steam trains through hop fields, garnished with a famous American writer – Henry James.

And perhaps our local attractions could include an annual food and booze festival? But more on that next week.

Michael, being an apparently dedicated foodie, sampled scallops in Webbe’s restaurant in Tower Street near the medieval Landgate, followed by a trip to James’ home, the National Trust’s Georgian Lamb House in West Street.

And both Lamb House and scallops feature elsewhere in other stories in this week’s edition of Rye News.

With his feet still firmly on the history trail Michael also went on the steam train from Tenterden to Bodiam which features on its website a string of events from Easter onwards.

The Standard Inn

And history certainly attracts the visitors, as earlier in the week by the historic Standard pub in The Mint exotically well-dressed visitors from the Far East were snapping themselves outside timber framed Tudor houses – while being snapped in turn by curious locals (with their many dogs) inside The Standard.

But how high will tourists be on the Town Council’s agenda at next Wednesday’s Town Meeting?

A report will be circulated on the Heritage Centre’s performance for visitors in these troubled times – as well as one on coping with floods, often a lurking threat in Rye and the surrounding area.

High on the meeting’s agenda will be Rye’s schools, now under new management after exam results fell below the national average, with head teacher Barry Blakelock and Kathy Griffiths from the Aquinas Trust (now running our schools) reporting back.

But the imminent arrival of traffic wardens, and the uncertainties around Brexit and leaving Europe’s common market, will also be lurking in the shadows.

The coaches line up in Rye’s station car park, and quite often they are foreign.

Many of our visitors come from Europe and arrive by coach and/or car, and the much anticipated travel disruption could hit tourist numbers – including visitors to Lamb House.

So what are our concerns? What do we want? Well, come to the Town Meeting and find out.

P.S. But Scallop Week comes first, and there are bands to hear, starting tonight, Friday, with the Mountain Firework Company, and scallops to taste, right through to Sunday evening.

Image Credits: Rye News library.

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