Aldi development consultation

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The article in Rye News last November titled Aldi supermarket plan confirmed really hit a nerve, to date it has been one of the most viewed Rye News articles for some time and generated a great deal of comment and debate. It’s obviously an issue which. is very important to so many of us for varying reasons but since then it all seems to have gone quiet.

But no, Cavendish Consulting on behalf of Decimus, the Tunbridge Wells based developer of the Winchelsea Road Aldi / McCarthy & Stone proposed site, has organised an in-person public consultation / exhibition event on Thursday, March 7. All the details are in this flyer and in the image below, but the open meeting is from 3pm – 7pm at the River Haven Hotel in Rye (close to the entrance to the proposed development} and is your opportunity to put your views forward, ask questions and gather information.

This is an important meeting and is proof of community engagement which local planning authorities like to see as evidence when considering larger planning applications so a show of strength will not be wasted.

Winchelsea Road proposed development

Prior to the meeting you may want to consider the pros and cons of this proposed development, how could it impact on Rye, on you and on our local economy.

It’s a large, prominent site on one of the main arterial roads into town. The existing site access is already busy with lorries and traffic but if a supermarket and housing were developed, would the traffic onto Winchelsea Road increase as a result or would it match what we have become used to already? Would any development be affected by the risk of potential flooding? Would a supermarket provide much needed jobs for our local economy or would another large supermarket in central Rye force the closure of some local businesses?

Have we got the right infrastructure and utilities in place to cope with additional housing and vehicle movements and what environmental and ecological effect might we expect to see locally?

Do we need the proposed retirement housing or is there a more pressing need for affordable housing? Would the development attract locals or outsiders? How long would it take to develop the site and what would be the overall effect on neighbouring properties in terms of noise and light pollution? Would local property values be affected detrimentally or positively?

Many of these questions have been raised recently regarding the application to develop the Ferry Road former school site and no doubt there are many more questions you may be seeking answers to and hopefully the consultation will provide some of the answers but we need to show our support by taking part in this very important public consultation if we are to help to shape the future of Rye in a way which suits our town and its needs.

Change is inevitable but this is our opportunity to decide what level of change is necessary and realistic, and if the proposed use of this site is the most logical and sensible use or do we think otherwise?

Whatever your feelings please make a note in your diaries to come along on March 7, I’m sure it will be a full house and with plenty to discuss but if you cant make it you can join the virtual public exhibition by visiting winchelsearoad.co.uk by Sunday 17 March. At the time of writing this site was not yet live.

Let Rye News know what you think, send your thoughts and comments to info@ryenews.org.uk.

Winchelsea Road proposed development

Image Credits: Cavendish Consulting .

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18 COMMENTS

  1. The aldi development most people I talk to in the town is a welcome development to give the people of Rye choice where they wish to shop, let’s forget about the negatives about flood plains,especially when relative councils have okayed building developments on adjacent land and also at Rock Channel, all deemed as flood plains, as for putting other shops out of business I see none of this on our neighbouring town,Tenterden. Where there is already two supermarkets.

  2. Thanks for this useful information, Nick. As a longtime resident of Rye, I feel that many (if not most) people in the town will welcome a second supermarket that introduces much-needed competition into the local grocery business, which has been dominated by a single player for decades and undeniably led to higher prices. Competition is bound to drive down food prices, which is essential in the current cost-of-living crisis. It would have been helpful if the project developers had allowed their Virtual Exhibition to be accessed online now, rather than having to wait until 29 February, as we presumably won’t know the configuration of the design until then.
    In brief, I support the construction of an Aldi supermarket at the Winchelsea Road site but I would strongly advise Decimus to beware the temptation to squeeze in too many private homes and McCarthy Stone from proposing too much retirement accommodation. This could create the same overdevelopment problem that has plagued the developer of the old school site off Ferry Road, the planning application for which has just been unanimously rejected by Rye town councillors. The new supermarket should be the primary focus of the Winchelsea Road development. I would urge that the new houses and retirement home accommodation are first offered to local Rye and area residents as a priority. Homes are needed for local people. I’m hopeful that the overall design of the Winchelsea Road project will be a sympathetic one, as much as possible in keeping with the town, and that there will be adequate parking for supermarket customers and safe access to the site.

  3. A quick update for Rye residents. The project developers have now released further details of their proposal. The Aldi supermarket will create 40 jobs in Rye, there are 15 private houses planned by Decimus and McCarthy Stone is proposing a 3.5 storey retirement building able to accommodate up to 43 one- and two-bedroom homes for people aged 60+. Main access to the site will be enhanced by a T-junction connecting to Winchelsea Road and pedestrian footpaths added on both sides. It appears that there will be only 3-4 lorry deliveries to Aldi each day, at non-busy times, reportedly because Aldi only stocks 1,800 product lines, compared to larger supermarkets’ 20,000 lines. “Assessments have shown that our proposed arrangements will operate well within capacity with the additional traffic,” the developers claim. The proposed design of the Aldi supermarket looks very similar, if not identical, to the company’s Hastings store.

    • Perhaps I’m being naive, but isn’t it the volume of goods sold (ie number of customers) that defines the number of lorry movements, not the number of product lines?

  4. Great ! Let’s go for it , Rye residents need a choice , it will affect some 2 houses directly but there should be restrictions on times of delivery’s and maybe a mini roundabout , I personally would like to see a garage to save trips to Morrisons but that’s on my wish list .

  5. My understanding is that what Rye needs is more affordable homes for local residents…built in an environmentally friendly and sustainable way – designed for the future. No point pouring resources into the scheme if liable for flooding and not withstanding the challenges of climate change. Have I got this wrong – don’t new housing developments in Rye somehow find a loop hole around building affordable social housing?…..

    • I spoke to one of the contractors at the consultation with regard to affordable houses but didn’t a get a definitive answer.

  6. Just attended the consultation. It was informative and frank. Setting aside the addition of another supermarket, which I think is generally positively received locally, few observations occurred:

    * Currently, the site access is not via a roundabout, but by a T-junction. With increased traffic, will that impede flow on Winchelsea Rd? Could Highways accommodate a roundabout on a relatively narrow rd?

    * The current plans specify 15 2,3 and 3-4 beds, and 43 retirement units. Currently, it appears there’s no provision for affordable housing. I asked if the 15 units could potentially be affordable? My sense was that this would not be the developer’s favoured option. The 43 unit retirement block, I was advised, could not accommodate a mix of market and affordable.

    * Yes, the developer could pay an infrastructure levy, but if there are no affordable homes at this site, that’s one of a limited number of options for the town eliminated.

    * 43 retirement units *potentially* increases the burden upon local GP services.

    So, plenty to consider!

  7. I agree with your assessment, Guy. My understanding is that the three developer partners for the site will be lodging separate planning applications to RDC in May. It could be that the planning authority accepts Aldi’s application — as the supermarket is much needed and would be widely welcomed by townspeople, but that the applications for the 15 private homes and the retirement accommodation (a single large block with 43 smaller flats for the over 60s) may encounter problems if affordable homes or reserved places for Rye residents don’t form part of the mix. We don’t know whether building will occur if only one part of the proposal is granted planning permission. McCarthy Stone only builds retirement accommodation: they won’t allow younger people to buy or rent the proposed properties and it’s also unclear whether any of the 43 retirement flats would be reserved for existing Rye residents wishing to downsize. The planning proposal currently envisages the Aldi supermarket being located at the back of the site almost directly behind the existing access road off Winchelsea Road. The Aldi car park would sit between the supermarket and the access road. In my opinion, it would be quite feasible to build the supermarket extremely quickly while leaving the other two elements of the overall development to further ‘refinement’ and discussion regarding size, design, affordable component and so on. I believe Rye Town Council is taking a very firm stance on what it wants for the very few remaining development sites in Rye: essentially, our councillors appear to support the smaller, affordable homes already outlined in the Rye Neighbourhood Plan.

  8. Talking to a lot of people at the consultation many were definitely in favour of a new supermarket, something that was always considered favourable in the Rye neighbourhood plan, Guy is right about access which needs addressing and the impact on our GPs, especially as a 60 bedroom nursing home is planned next to the medical centre. Can our out of date sewage system cope as well? was another serious question. Any infrastructure levy should go to our town council and not to Rother district council, towards possible affordable homes in the future for our town, and not for bexhills benefit.

  9. I was impressed by the commitment from the various developers to the consultation event, senior staff from each aspect were available to talk to. I popped along about 5:15 and there were a few folk milling around, the Conservation Society had been earlier and members of Rye Town Council were visiting later according to the organiser.
    We will need to see what comes from the financial evaluations on affordable housing but of course I made the point that this is something we are in desperate need of. I found out there will be a minimum of 4 EV chargers on the Aldi car park site.
    One interesting suggestion (from my clever neighbour!) was that if traffic were only allowed to turn left when leaving the site, it could then use the roundabout if needing to back down Winchelsea Rd or Harbour Rd helping traffic flow.
    Another interesting comment on leaving from a Love Lane local was on the difference between this and the Ferry Rd developers who have invested no such time or effort in consultation and engagement.

  10. Hard to imagine a less sensitive or appropriate design for a supermarket in a historic setting like Rye – what’s being proposed being more suited to a Business Park or Industrial Estate. Completely generic and unimaginative – to characterise it as ‘sympathetic’ is cynical and disingenuous.

    Why was the adaptive reuse of the existing brick industrial buildings not possible? Significantly more appropriate for the historic fabric and setting of Rye, not to mention being more sustainable than demolishing the existing buildings.

  11. So how is a 1960’s factory building with an asbestos type sheet roof in keeping with historical Rye?
    Back in the 70’s it was a massive employer in Rye but now it’s past it’s sell buy date.

    • Scale. Mass. Form – with pitched roof. Materials/Colour (brick and small scale steel frame windows). Setting. I could go on.

      In contrast the proposal is bulky, flat roof, cheap dull grey large scale cladding panels, huge flat glazing – in fact none of the architectural and townscape characteristics of Rye.

      If you find yourself in Kings Cross there’s a textbook example of an old industrial building recently converted into a much admired and successful supermarket – because they were made to due to the historic setting.

      Rye deserves much better.

  12. The Aldi car park is too small and the HGV deliveries will cause chaos within. Very little space. I think Aldi underestimate the amount of passing traffic which will likely be attracted to stop and shop. Bigger supermarket, less housing, especially if it’s not affordable.

  13. Peter I don’t think Aldi underestimate the car traffic this will generate at all (particularly from outlying villages in all directions). It is us who are liable to underestimate the traffic impact on Rye.

  14. The new Aldi would certainly make my basic state pension go further. Jempson’s is becoming increasingly pricey and some products I buy regularly have disappeared with the Morrison’s join-up.

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