Blocking off riverside views

Bridgepoint's new houses and the "new" road

I have somewhat belatedly come across the planning proposals to obliterate the riverside walk opposite the recently converted arts centre (on the right in photo above) beyond St Margaret’s Terrace in Rye.

I am a retired chartered surveyor and Incorporated Member of the Chartered Institute of Building.

I cannot see any merits in this scheme whatsoever. Why relocate the road? Why relocate the riverside walk with its interesting command of the boating scene? What on earth is the point of the proposed footpath which appears to run behind the white elephant new houses and goes nowhere.

In my experience the only reason for messing with year upon year of public footpath access is to create more land for greedy developers and Rother District Council. The grand open space apparently destined for outdoor performing arts is to be gobbled up by housing which if the same modus operandi is repeated will produce more white elephants. I understand that only one of the new dwellings is owner occupied and that this was as a result of a land swap/deal.

I am not opposed to development, in fact I worked in the sector for most of my working life, but I cannot see how RDC can support a developer whose track record so far shows that they have got it abysmally wrong.

I have been a Rye resident for 25 years or so and I am not able to condone the monkey wagging the tail of RDC and they should stand up and be counted and not allow an inexperienced developer to dictate the future of areas of Rye.

Image Credits: Nick Forman .


  1. One has to ask why we need a Rye Neighbourhood plan, if all their hard work implementing change for our town can be lost when a developer wishes to change plans that were agreed prior to planning permission being granted. The riverside path that was agreed with RNP has never been finished, and now they wish to reroute it, as Roy Bishop states why should the developers get away with running roughshod over the RNP, and if Rother district council allow this to happen surely they are being complicit in undermining all the hard work put into the RNP’s plans for the future of our town.

  2. I’m confused! I thought the application was just to close the footpath of about 50 metres that fronts the houses in the picture? I didn’t think there were any other changes.

    • … in fact it appears from the drawings that this section of the footpath will exist once again when the scheme is complete – the path will run along the water’s edge, behind the houses as seen in this picture.

  3. I heartily agree with Roy Bishop.
    Building adjacent to, and closing off access to a river is becoming more popular with developers. In Rye in the past 4 years there has been a sharp rise in riverside plots between WInchelsea Road, and the bridge at New Road, with Planning Applications posted, and boards stating “Plot Acquired”, or “Private Property”. It seems like a developers takeover of the old fishing area, by stealth. Why does every tired but picturesque area have to be taken over and redeveloped? It removes the essential character, especially when the new buildings end up looking generic. There must be better ways, and perhaps people who live in Rye, could have a say? It does seem that money speaks louder than words, and money comes before people. As for encouraging hundreds and thousands more people to our town, where will they park? Basically this town is built on a rock sticking up out of a flood plain, and we are threatened with climate change.
    Who doesn’t love to walk or sit by the river, or just stop and look for a few minutes? A little bond with nature is soothing, uplifting and good for our wellbeing, especially in the current situation.
    The Rother, the Tillingham, and the Brede are a fundamental part of the history of Rye. Please don’t let our riversides in Rye continue to be re-developed, so that only those that can afford to buy the new properties on their banks can have a private river view.

  4. This is not a proposal – it received formal consent in May 2020.

    The approved Site Plan on the Rother planning portal specifically highlights the public footpaths. Perhaps I am missing something [or can’t read drawings], but the existing pedestrian path along the water’s edge is retained, along with the views. If you believe the new footpath ‘goes nowhere’, I suppose the same must true for the current one, given they appear to follow the same line and end in the same place.

    The new path extends further along the water’s edge, behind the houses in your photograph, reducing the current need to walk along the road to reach the footpath. This being the case, why the realignment of the existing road would ‘obliterate’ the riverside walk is unclear. It seems to pull vehicles further away from the water’s edge/footpath and better separate pedestrians from vehicles – all of which is to be welcomed.

    Realigning the road enables a significant new public/performance space to also connect to the water’s edge – a great outdoor addition to both the proposed Arts Centre and the town of Rye.

    The point about owner-occupation seems to imply that this is in some way a more legitimate housing/development need than houses that are tenanted. Surely the point is that these houses are now homes – no matter their tenure – fulfilling a valid housing need. Why is that a ‘white elephant’ or so ‘abysmally wrong’?

    • I do have to say however that the plans and notice now displayed in several places along Rock Channel give the impression that the raised bit of the riverside walk will vanish. The plans on the RDC site do indeed show it as part of the approved layout so either something has changed or else the new displayed drawings are particularly obscure. The notices are from The Secretary of State, presumably because it is quite a major thing to close or divert a road and or footpath permanently. Is there an on-line version of this notice that can be perused properly rather than in passing?

  5. One must agree with Tony Edwards, these houses were well over £1 million when first marketed, the price has now dropped considerably,and the others have been put up for rent,looking at the agents prices to rent,i very much doubt if any locals could afford it,but of course valid needs for outsiders is just what the town needs,lets hope the new wealthy tenants are here to stay,and not using them as weekend homes.

  6. I have to say that I didn’t initially see the notice as I pass by in my car and don’t usually stop due to current restrictions. The diversion of the public access for residents of Rock Channel Quay will be problematic as deliveries and access for emergency services would be blocked as Shipyard Lane is too narrow. It’s bad enough having a number of vehicles park alongside the Sea Cadets HQ and by the auction rooms….Residents of Rock Channel Quay must not be cut off! We have noticed a lot more pedestrains during the COVID pandemic enjoying exercising and enjoying the views of Rock Channel and the boatyards.

  7. It would be interesting if Colonel kimber and his Rye Neighbourhood plan commented on these latest proposals for Bridge point, as they were the ones that worked hard to get the riverside walk, in the development plan,even though at present it leads to nowhere. Will it be finished eventually, what is your take on this Colonel kimber, and these new plans.

  8. You need to ask the question ‘why does the road need to be diverted’ There are two possible answers.One is to enlarge the area between the new proposed road and the river for outdoor performing arts.Why would you route a new road between the Arts buildings and the outdoors performing arts area ? The other is to free up land for for further overpriced housing development.Can you imagine what another block of those awful houses already built will have,loads more block paving and parked cars!!!

  9. I watched Bournes, now an arts centre, being built and causing the same rancour about the blocking of views. I live in a bungalow.


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