In a surprise move, management of Rye Creative Centre on New Road has been transferred to Martello Developments.
An spokesperson from ESCC, said, “The agreement struck with Martello Rye Creative Centre Limited means the firm commits to run the centre as a community arts centre, investing in the building infrastructure to ensure it continues to provide community services including workshops and exhibitions.”
Martello has agreed to run it as a community asset on a long-term lease from East Sussex County Council (ESCC), which owns the freehold of the site. ESCC has been managing and maintaining the centre since the former head tenant, the charity ARRCC, went into liquidation in 2018.
The deal also includes an option for Martello to take over the freehold of the site after the first five years of the lease. Previously, the site had been earmarked for housing in Rye’s Neighbourhood Plan.
The Plan has allocated 30 dwellings on the site but stipulates that ‘the development shall not commence until the flood mitigation works by the Environment Agency for the eastern bank of the River Rother (Eastern Rother Tidal Walls) have been fully implemented.’ In addition to housing, the Neighbourhood Plan has identified that the site could also accommodate a petrol station and/or convenience store of up to 500sqm in size.
While the Centre has been closed since March due to the Covid-19 lockdown, the new management team will be upgrading the building ahead of its re-opening and working with tenants to agree a plan for them to return as soon as possible. The Centre is home to 30 local artists.
Councillor Keith Glazier, leader of East Sussex County Council, Rye’s representative on the Council, said: “It’s excellent news that we’ve managed to secure the future of Rye Creative Centre for the artists who work there and for the whole community. It’s a valuable part of cultural life in this part of the world and I’m looking forward to seeing it continue to flourish under this new arrangement.”
The acquisition of Rye Creative Centre by Martello Developments adds to its already substantial landholding around the town, including much of the land either side of the River Brede at Rock Channel and Rye Harbour Road.
Image Credits: Kevin McCarthy , Rye Neighbourhood Plan .