Camber Sands solutions?


Although usually published a little earlier, Rye News is generally available to read on Friday mornings. That means that this Friday, April 15, which marks the start of the Easter holiday weekend, you are likely to be reading this as queues start to form along the Camber road and, given the forecast for fine weather, the car parks for Camber Sands will be rapidly filling up. We are fortunate to have such a wonderful facility as the Sands on our doorstep, but it comes at a cost.

July – visitors pour in

It is unlikely that the crowds will reach levels often seen in the summer, but nevertheless the weekend will mark the start of that period in the year when we can expect to see long queues of traffic – sometimes reaching from Camber right back to Rye Hill – and when the residents of Camber can expect to find cars littering the verges through the village, parked indiscriminately across driveways and when a morning’s shopping in Rye then requires a substantial diversion to find a way back into the village without spending the rest of the morning in the holiday makers’ traffic jam.

The area has been popular for many decades – there was once even a steam tram that ran from Monkbretton Bridge – but with increasing mobility and the recent trend towards holidaying in the UK, the problem of coping with so many visitors (20,000 or more, some weekends) all descending on the seaside within a time window of just a few hours, has grown worse.

Camber Sands Full – Sussex Police – August 2020

Behind the scenes, however, work has been going on to try to find a solution. Responsibility for the various areas on and around the Sands is divided between East Sussex County Council Highways and Rother District Council (RDC). Our MP has also been closely involved.

In 2014 a plan for the area was produced (for those with time on their hands the 128 page document can be found here) and since then discussions have been ongoing between the agencies. The tragedies of a few years ago, in particular, have concentrated minds.

This year, the intention is to extend double yellow lines back as far as the golf course and civil enforcement will be operating to ensure the restrictions are obeyed. We understand that the ‘level of resource’ (presumably parking wardens and police) can be stepped up when required. Closing the road to Camber entirely is not an option, other than in an emergency, due to the chaos caused elsewhere the last time this was tried. However the Beach Check App and the RDC website will both be monitoring the state of play and potential visitors will be encouraged to check these before attempting to reach the beach. Both these websites will, of course, need to be well advertised to ensure awareness of their presence.

On April 27 there is to be a virtual public meeting (details available from RDC) at which Rother, ESCC Highways, Camber Parish Council, Operation RADCOTT partners and Sally-Ann Hart MP will be in attendance to discuss plans for this year and answer questions. There is every sign that a real effort is being made to improve matters both for locals as well as visitors, but as RDC have admitted, there are always going to be difficulties in accommodating so many arrivals in one day in a small village, but the aim is to minimise the problems caused by the influx as far as it is possible to do so.

Image Credits: Nick Forman , Kevin McCarthy .

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  1. I can’t believe the local plan is to reduce parking by closing the verges! That is just madness! People will still come to Camber and they must be accommodated. The best option in my opinion would be to reinstate the tram track from Rye to Camber so people could use public transport that doesn’t involve the Camber road. In addition, we need to make much more public parking available at Camber WITH the necessary facilities like toilets and suitably-sized rubbish bins. As the owner of a property at Jury’s Gap, we not only have people parking so that we can’t get in and out of our own houses but also defecating in our gardens and leaving their rubbish in our bins or around the properties. It’s not rocket science – MORE public parking parking and facilities would solve the problems for visitors and residents alike.

  2. I agree;. Some sort of park and ride systems must be a part of the overall plan perhaps providing easier public transport into and between both Rye and Camber with bike hire and cycle paths convenient to strategically located carparks.

  3. My treat over the winter has been a quiet walk at Camber sands with a stop off at the Salts Farm shop.
    I will be disappointed if there are all year round double yellows all the way to the golf course. Is there any way this can be seasonal so that locals aren’t priced out from walking there out of season?
    Tram track from Rye to Camber sounds a good idea…feasible?

  4. Dreaming about resurrecting the Camber Tram is pure nostalgic fantasy – see John Minter’s excellent article last August with the comments that follow, accessed by clicking on the “steam tram” link above. Also, some of the grazing field between the Creative Centre and the river is going to be returned to saltmarsh by the EA as part of their large and now-imminent flood defence plan. And how would Puffing Billy help the 20,000 visitors? With perhaps 50 passengers each way it wouldn’t even scratch the surface of the problem. A no-no on all counts.

  5. So you’ve had all winter to discuss this and now there’s a public meeting at the end of April, then the various councils and committees will have to meet, then the bean counters will be consulted by which time once again it will be too late.
    Won’t that be a surprise?

  6. For many years in Town meetings and at Chamber of Commerce meetings we have been proposing some form of Electric (now!) shuttle bus(es) to bring people from the outskirts and car parks of Rye to Rye Town centre.

    It would make sense to include Camber in such a plan.

    Some of the Funding Monies to be used from the Parking Revenues, which will begin to come in now for Rye as well.

    There are such things as bridges, which can cross salt marshes and golf courses, or even follow a different route (parallel to the cycling path for example).

    Or a bridge or amphibious vehicle from Rye Harbour or Winchelsea Beach to Camber Sands.

    Perhaps get rid of the firing ranges at Lydd and create a new beach Town far from the madding crowd…….everything is possible !

    Seriously though an electric shuttle bus service for Rye at weekends and Market Days is a good template for a Camber development as well.

    Who pays for it ? All of us ! Via Rye Town Council, Rother District Council and East Sussex County Council with (our) monies funded from our Government and this can be driven by our Member of Parliament (Sally-Ann).

    Rye Community Buses could equally be possibly electrified over a period of years as well.

    Jonathan Dellar

  7. How one must agree with would be nearly a councillor Jonathan Dellar, Rye Town Council turned down park and ride years ago, when Salts farm was mentioned,and it would have been ideal for park and ride to Rye, and Camber at weekends, sadly anything constructive for the wellbeing of the town, and a solution for the Camber fiasco, falls on deaf ears, so the chaos in Rye and Camber, will forever be a longstanding saga.


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