David Bookless
Rye Town Council candidate

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We invited each candidate to supply up to 500 words on why they deserve your vote, optionally including a photograph and a link to an election address. We have published their submissions verbatim, no editorial changes have been made. Any errors are those of the candidate.

David Bookless

I grew up and worked in London and I first discovered Rye accidentally on a visit to Hastings. Rye’s attractions were obvious and for several years I was guilty of being a weekend visitor before moving here permanently in 1998. Rye has provided me with an interesting way of life and I have taken a part in its affairs being involved with the Conservation Society, currently as Chairman and serving on the committee of the local railway action group, MLAG. My partner Heather is a director of the excellent Rye Museum Association. As a Town Councillor I would promote and protect the interests of all the residents of Rye

Although Rye may look unchanged with its cobbled streets and ancient buildings, there have been changes in my time, its popularity as a tourist destination bringing both opportunities and challenges. There are pressures on housing reflected by very high house prices and a growing number of Airbnbs. There is a severe shortage of affordable housing for Rye people and an increasing gap between local residents and wealthy in-comers who can afford £1m houses.

The long running effort to improve transport links has not led to much progress, with HS1 trains still parked in the sidings. The railway, which was almost closed in the 1970s, now carries increasing numbers on an often overcrowded two coach hourly service; the unelectrified single track has been a huge constraint to modernisation. The useful bus route to Tenterden is dependent on an East Sussex Council grant and the frequency of service has been severely cut. The Rye Town Council should be campaigning to maintain and improve local bus services which are essential for elderly residents and people without cars.

A major issue in Rye is irresponsible parking throughout the town. There is little or no policing of parking at present and the Civil Parking Enforcement Plan for the Citadel may only make matters worse in other parts of Rye as people try to park elsewhere.

Rye Town Council has limited powers, but through Rother Council it comments on planning proposals. The new Rye Neighbourhood Plan will provide a framework for future developments on the Lower School site and elsewhere. RTC has taken over some roles from Rother such as maintenance carried out by the excellent Town Steward and has, with help from civic organisations, encouraged Rother’s recent efforts to restore the Landgate.

Much of the Rye economy depends on tourism, the Heritage Centre run by the RTC exists to help, inform and entertain. The newly cleaned town model housed in the Heritage Centre is an excellent and popular attraction. The Rye Museum Association who manage the Ypres Tower and the volunteers who organise the Bonfire festivities, Christmas in Rye, the Scallop Festival and other special Rye activities all deserve our support and thanks.

Promoted by Eileen Masters, on behalf of David Bookless both at Hastings & Rye Labour Party, 84 Bohemia Road, St Leonards on Sea, TN37 6RN

Image Credits: David Bookless .

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