RCS garden party 2021

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Liz Bamji receiving an award for the Hub on Rye Hill

The annual garden party of the Rye Conservation Society (RCS) took place, somewhat later in the year than usual, on Sunday August 22 in the lovely garden of Little Orchard House, by kind arrangement with Andy and Niki Stuart. The weather was fair, and many RCS members, residents and tourists came to enjoy tea and scones, these naturally presented the Cornish way.

Garden party guests

It was a good opportunity to catch up with developments in Rye, but disappointing to learn that the planning department at Rother District Council has severe recruitment problems and is very much “hands off”. While a few planning applications are being made, the delays in processing are significant, and it is hoped that this will not result in people and businesses proceeding with alterations without permission, which might lead to major problems later.

The highlight of the afternoon was the announcement of the annual conservation society awards by the chairman, David Bookless. These are made for significant developments and renovations that enhance our environment and are attuned to the special nature of our mediaeval town.

The five awards are listed here with the society’s citations.

The Hub on Rye Hill. “A new and very useful addition to the provision of social and community services for Rye and the surrounding district is the Hub on Rye Hill. The society feels it is a well-designed and important new social asset for the residents of the town. We believe that as a new building it fits well into the rural surroundings and is a welcome place for a meal, a coffee or a meeting.” The award was accepted by Dr Liz Bamji on behalf of the Rye, Winchelsea and District Memorial Hospital board.

David Wylson receiving the award for the Bank Gallery

Rye Bank Gallery. “The old HSBC Bank building has been transformed into the Rye Bank Gallery, with splendid visual space for the gallery both on the ground floor and in the old vaults. Externally the building looks as it should, sitting proudly on the High Street, and the owners are to be congratulated for their renovation.” David Wylson was present to receive the award.

Tatner’s which in the past was an antique shop and also a well-known restaurant, The Old Forge. “It is good to see that new owners have done such an interesting job renovating the building into a Rye version of an American diner now known as Tatner’s Street Kitchen.”

The Outside Inn is “a new bar which has taken over the accommodation occupied by Braggs antique shop which traded there for many years. The inside is bright and airy offering a fantastic view of the ancient Landgate, whilst the building looks very inviting from the outside. A worthy competitor to the Waterworks, one of last year’s award winners, sited just down the road.”

Relaxing among friends

Ashbees, the old butchers on the High Street. “A new venture has taken over, run by Imogen and Justin Smithwhich. They have retained the name and done an excellent job of preserving the traditional frontage of the shop, the signage and the brass fittings. there is art, quirky and full of colour, filling the walls of the shop, making a powerful impression as one walks in.”

After the isolation of the last year it was lovely to be able to meet old and new friends (maskless!) and enjoy a relaxing afternoon. Many thanks to Niki and Andy for their wonderful hospitality.

Image Credits: Andrew Bamji , Kenneth Bird .

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