Council zooms back


Rye Town Council meets next Monday, August 24, at 6:30pm online with the help of Zoom in its first meeting since March 23, when ten of the 16 councillors met to discuss the looming pandemic and lockdown and gave their full support to the recently created Rye Mutual Aid volunteers – and Monday’s agenda includes whether the mayor stays on as mayor.

And, after apologies for non-attendance, code of conduct matters, and the minutes of the March 23 meeting, the next item is usually an opportunity for the public to speak up – which is hard to organise for an online meeting.

But, if you have any comments and concerns for the council’s attention, send them to the town clerk at the town hall and he will raise them on Monday as there is an agenda item for issues the public wish to raise.

Another regular feature is that our councillors on Rother District Council and East Sussex County Council report back on what they have been doing and this item will return at the next meeting says the town clerk.

The next item covers a very large number of documents on the annual accounts, audit, internal controls, risk assessments and general governance before councillors consider the timetable for further meetings – after so many have been cancelled.

Then the council moves on to thank Rye Mutual Aid, Rye Food Bank and a large number of individuals who “worked tirelessly to help others during the acute stage of the pandemic” and who are preparing for the possibility of a second wave in the autumn/winter.

The next item is about a letter from the Environment Agency suggesting that access to Strand Quay could be more limited, which would affect motorcyclists currently parking there – and councillors’ views will be sought on that specific proposal alone – and not on social distancing, speeding or noise issues, all which do not fall within the Environment Agency’s role or powers.

The meeting will then go on to discuss the mayoralty as Mayor Making earlier in the year was cancelled and the existing mayor continued in office and, by default, therefore became Speaker of the Cinque Ports Confederation – though Speakers Day in Rye in October has been cancelled.

The options are to leave the mayor and deputy in place for the remainder of the mayoral year or to choose a new mayor and deputy (which would have happened earlier in the year, but for the pandemic).

All this assumes though that the meeting is quorate and manages to cope with the technology.

Image Credits: John Minter .

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  1. I’m surprised the Town Council haven’t met since 23rd March and that it’s their first meeting using Zoom. I would have expected they’d be plenty of topics that need discussing and issues that need coordination since lockdown?

    I know some of the Parish Councils have continued with meetings using Zoom, it’s not difficult. It does beg the question, do we really need a Town Council if they haven’t felt the need to continue operating for 4 months at this difficult time?

  2. Not having meetings has not prevented the Town Council from continuing to provide its usual services, dealing with problems raised by parishioners, commenting on planning applications, proving visitor information, grass cutting, considering issues as and when they arise – and so on. Then only difference is that Councillors have not been debating issues ‘in public’. Other than this, the work of the Council has continued (as best it can given the circumstances!)

  3. Lord knows if some of the clowns in parliament can manage zoom meetings, then the wise heads of Council certainly can.
    Long overdue use of zoom for this, lots to be discussed – as ever. There’s already too much of an impression of ‘backroom handshakes’ around Rye dealings – and conversations detached from scrutiny, involvement, or interest of local people.
    Transparency, of the *workings* of due process is vital, not least so that constituents can see the Council and councillors representing their interests.
    Time for fresh start. In my view a new Mayor would be an important visual (and substantive) signifier of the Council’s return to business proper. I’ve no doubt ‘barnacle Boyd’ 😉 will be content to pass the baton for this next welcome phase of Rye – and Rye Council’s – renewal.
    Good luck all.

  4. “Council Zooms Back” seems a somewhat misleading headline – perhaps “Council finally wakes-up to Zoom” might be more appropriate. I am a 69 year old Zooming since March.


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