Last week Rother District Council (RDC) approved Martello Development Ltd’s planning application for further development along Rock Channel which involves redeveloping a number of marine wharf facilities and replacing them with associated offices and, more controversially, a large restaurant complex.
The development, known as Sandrock Marine, had been opposed by both Rye Town Council and Rye Conservation Society (RCS). The town council’s objection said, ‘Insufficient off-street parking spaces; increased traffic on a narrow lane (pedestrian safety) and via a dangerous junction with the A259; adverse impact on the amenity of residents in the vicinity (late night noise and vehicle movements).’
Rye’s Conservation Society raised a similar objection saying, ‘Initial calculations indicate that the parking provision is inadequate for the restaurant (public) leaving aside the parking requirements for staff and the other B1 uses.
“RCS is concerned as to the capacity of Rock Channel to safely support the additional traffic particularly as it is a shared designated footpath and road, which potentially may become part of the South East Costal footpath. Given its relatively hidden location we believe that most users of the restaurant will come by car which will impose an additional issue where Rock Channel joins the A259.’
Neither Highways England nor ESCC Highways had an objection to the development though the Rights of Way team at ESCC has asked that the footpath along Rock Channel remain open at ‘all times, during and on completion of the development.’
The number of covers in the restaurant has been reduced from around 100, contained in the original application, to 70 – seated both in and outside. Correspondingly, parking provision has also been reduced from 16 to 14 bays.
In approving the application RDC laid out a number of conditions including the hours of operation – for both building work and once the restaurant is up and running.
The Sandrock Marine is one of several sites that could potentially be developed, on either side of the river Brede, that are owned by Martello Developments Ltd. Their arts centre and housing development, called Bridgepoint at the other end of Rock Channel, gained planning approval earlier in the year though it remains to be seen what they propose to do with the remaining land that they own, including a large site on the opposite bank of the river Brede alongside Harbour Road.
The recent publication of ESCC walking and cycling strategy mentions a new bridge for pedestrians and cyclists over the river Brede that would link all of these sites, though gives no further details of who will pay for it or when it will be constructed.
Those with a good memory will remember that this was amongst several proposed sites for a large-scale marina to provide moorings, a yacht club, housing and various restaurants and shops.
The subject of building a marina close to Rye has been raging on and off since the early 1980s with various plans submitted and subsequently defeated. The most recent one from the mid-2000s (pictured) also contains a proposed bridge over the river Brede. Since then the fields opposite Rock Channel have been designated as a ‘strategic gap’ in Rye’s Neighbourhood Plan, ‘where development is to be strongly resisted.’
Image Credits: Kevin McCarthy , Millwood Designer Homes Ltd .