Coastal Revival for the Landgate?


The Landgate Tower, pictured above, is a survival of the mediaeval defences of Rye, and one of the very few examples of 14th Century English Town defences. As many of  you who regularly read these pages will know, the Landgate is owned by Rother District Council (RDC) and has been the centre of much controversy about how to fund the repair and long term future of such an iconic structure, pigeon and weed infested as it is, at one of the main entrances to the Town.
Some months ago, Rother agreed to put forward the sum of £74,000 to fund a programme of urgent repair work, provided the town council and the townspeople raised £7,000 towards the costs. This £7,000 was raised by Rye Town Council, the Rye Conservation Group and the Rye Fund. Delays occurred because the officer helping with the problem left RDC and it has taken a while to know who would take up the cudgels on behalf of this lovely tower again.
It now seems that council officers, with the support of Councillor Lord Ampthill, are making real progress in contracting for the urgent works originally agreed. This was “work urgently needed to safeguard the historic fabric and guard against imminent loss” ( Thomas Ford and Partners October 2016.)    It remains necessary to inspect the inside of the building, as has been very strongly suggested before, and that John Bailey, of Thomas Ford and partners, who originally wrote the condition report and survey noted above, may be asked to oversee the work.
There are also opportunities available to bid on a new round of the Coastal Revival Fund, which needs an article in itself. The aim of the fund is to “secure a new future for iconic coastal buildings and assets, to help fund small capital works or feasibility studies that identify  a new role for these structures” ( Ministerial Foreword) . It does seem a new avenue for funding bids has opened up, that could lead to further funding application to other organisations and at the very least will give a basis for planning for the future.
As with everything that has ever happened with the Landgate, it is pointed out that it is all bound to take a very long time. Urgent works look like they may be about to happen, the future waits its turn.

Photo: Gillian Roder

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  1. If this had been properly looked after over the years it would not now be in this sad state of disrepair.


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