I have some good news for those of you interested in the fate of the Landgate, the Grade 1 listed ancient monument that serves as one of the gateways into the town.
You are, I am sure, aware from all the articles recently published in Rye News, that local organisations such as the Rye Conservation Society and individuals like myself have been trying to persuade Rother District Council (RDC) to release its Vision Statement for the Landgate, promised for October 2016.
This was drawn up by Thomas Ford and partners, architects specialising in the conservation, repair and reuse of historic buildings with a sustainable future. It followed a survey commissioned by RDC of the entire structure of the Landgate and is dated October 31 2016. It runs to 19 pages and I do not intend to try to summarise it this week.
You will be excited to know that RDC has invited a number of interested parties to a meeting at the end of November, and this includes the small interim committee that has just started work to set up a “Friends of the Landgate”, anxious to help with efforts to consolidate the structure and provide it with some kind of sustainable future. This might be continued ownership by RDC, which would not be its choice, or possibly a heritage or other organisation. The Rye Conservation Society and Rye Town Council will be there.
So that no one reading this thinks that we have ideas of grandeur, let me say we are not intending to offer to relieve RDC of its Landgate burden in any shape or form. We want to raise interest and knowledge about the structure, and contribute to debate and discussion about a sustainable future, which will need the ideas, input and agreement from landowners and tenants who live adjacent to the Landgate and the overall support of local residents.
We were intending to hold a meeting of interested people, with an expert speaker, in the New Year. We don’t now know exactly what role a Friends group could play, until after the meeting in November, so we may very well arrange something before Christmas to keep you informed and see what you, the inhabitants of Rye, think.
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Photo: Gillian Roder