Your cottage: want to keep it?

To sell or not to sell: Rye's Town Hall Cottage

Are the people of Rye about to lose another property that still belongs to them? That could be the path town councillors choose to tread on Monday.

The property in question is the historic Town Hall Cottage in Market Street. It has three bedrooms, a lounge, kitchen and cellar over three floors.

For the record, at the last meeting, I said that the property is a community asset and that the community has not been consulted about its use or disposal. That’s still my position.

Following local government reorganisation in the early 1970s, Rye’s new town council, badly advised in my opinion and worried about finance, handed over almost all of its property to the district council. The Town Hall and the Town Hall Cottage, though, still belong to Rye Town Council. But how much longer for the Town Hall Cottage?

On April 14 this year, under the heading “Local Affordable Accommodation”, councillors discussed the proposed sale of the cottage and agreed to obtain a market valuation. The proposers of this resolution had initially considered using the proceeds of a sale to purchase possibly two new properties on Fishmarket Road for rent.

The Town Hall Cottage has now been valued at £258,750 in current condition and £290,000 after refurbishment.

On Monday’s council agenda, at item 56C, there is a proposal that the “Local Affordable Accommodation Working Group”, comprising Cllrs Michael Boyd, Jonathan Breeds, Mike Eve, Heidi Foster and Ian Potter, should consider this valuation and the steps that were agreed on April 14. Here are those steps:

  • the proposed sale of the cottage be confirmed
  • the cottage be offered to the current tenants, Alex and Katie Clarke of The George Hotel, at its determined market value
  • if the tenants do not commit to purchase, then it be offered for sale on open market
  • the sale proceeds be applied for the purchase of a number of smaller properties for the purpose of providing rental accommodation for lower income local families

So what do you think? I’d like to remind people that there is a public question time at full council meetings. Monday’s meeting begins at 6.30pm in the town hall. Documents relating to the cottage can all be found on the council’s website

Mary Smith is a Rye town councillor / Photo: Tony Nunn