Council clears the decks

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Simon Parsons chairs a meeting about the future of the town model and the Heritage Centre, and a possible new charity

Next Monday night, December 9, Rye Town Council has three consecutive meetings, with the full council starting at 6:30pm , which are expected to last for at least an hour and a bit in an apparent burst of deck clearing in the run-up towards Christmas, including a four month backlog of minutes from August to November.

Items on the agenda include the future of the Heritage Centre, shoe-horning a Tourist Information Centre (TIC) into the Town Hall, deep cleaning, and turning a former High Street bank into a home.

Meetings of the council and its committees are open to the public, unless the council decides otherwise – so the public will be shuffling in and out of the council chamber (twice) when the meetings go into secret session.

The council meeting will be adjourned (as usual) to hear hoped-for reports from our local East Sussex County Councillor and our two Rother District Councillors.

Dahliea Redman

These will then be followed by a presentation from Dahliea Redman on how Rye can become a “dementia friendly town” and an update from Rye Rugby Club on its activities over the last five years. The rugby club’s rent review is due on February 23 next year for the exclusive use of the Freda Gardham playing field off New Road on the marsh side of town.

The trustees of the newly formed Heritage Centre charity, who hope to take it over from the Town Hall, will also be at the “secret session” of the full council as there may be others interested in taking over the centre.

The Heritage Centre, which provides tourist information as well as running shows of the historic Town Model and selling a variety of locally produced items, has been losing money in recent years.

However if someone else takes it over (for whatever purpose) tourist information will need to be provided somewhere else following the closure a while back of the Rother District Council TIC in Lion Street. That however occupied more space than the Town Hall may now have available for a TIC.

The pay and holidays of the Town Clerk and his Deputy will also be discussed in private.

The Rye Relief In Need committee will then meet to consider an application for a deep clean grant, followed by the Planning Committee considering a change of use for the former bank at 85 High Street.

Pedestrian problems in Deadman’s Lane

However the Planning meeting also allows for a period of questions and contributions from members of the public, and the previous meeting had a lengthy session on the Lower School site development, alternative sites for affordable housing (such as the school site in Tilling Green), and what schemes the Town Council may take forward using money from the levy developers pay.

Towns like Rye that have agreed a Town Plan can have a share of the levy developers pay for community improvements, and the Town Plan included various possibilities, such as a bridge over the river between Tilling Green and Love Lane for pedestrians and cyclists – and any improvement to Deadmans Lane that made it safer to use – for pedestrians.

[Editor’s note: Rye’s County Councillor, Keith Glazier, has been asked by Rye News on more than one occasion about improvements to Deadmans Lane – ESCC Highways are the responsible authority – but we have received no reply]

The Town Council is also proposing to change its meetings agenda because of the VE (Victory in Europe) celebrations around the normal Mayor Making time in May  and this  apparently includes nominating the Mayor Elect next Monday December 9.

This is usually unchallenged with the Deputy Mayor stepping up, but nothing can be taken for granted.

Image Credits: Heidi Foster , Dementia Alliance , Axa Arcadia .

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