Council’s loose ends

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Colonel Anthony Kimber (at front) masterminding the St George's Day parade on Sunday before reporting back to the council on the Neighbourhood Plan's progress on Monday

The outgoing Rye Town Council wound up its term of office with the St George’s Day parade and service last Sunday, April 28, shown above, and a special meeting on the following Monday night to tie up a few loose ends of business.

On Sunday, Colonel Anthony Kimber (pictured above on pavement with medals) was busy directing the parade of uniformed local youth organisations, and on Monday he was again busy as vice-chair of of Rye’s Neighbourhood Plan’s Steering (RNPSG) and a major architect of the Plan – which has to be approved by a town referendum as it sets a framework for future planning.

Deputy Town Clerk Designate Jessica Neame makes her debut at the St George’s Day parade and service

The full council’s agenda and the following Planning Committee had four loose ends to tie up:

  • The Neighbourhood Plan (agreed with amendments)
  • Strandliners’ grant application (agreed)
  • Music at Rye’s Waterworks micropub (agreed)
  • Rye College’s proposed synthetic football pitch (opposed).

On the Neighbourhood Plan the council accepted the External Examiner’s Report with some reservations as it proposed some amendments, though it concluded that – with those changes – a referendum could now be held on the plan which has taken over five years to get this far.

Most of the examiner’s recommendations are about detail – but two are about the need for stronger evidence to support the policies.

One concerned higher parking standards for new developments and the other concerned green open spaces – but both could could be reconsidered when the plan is reviewed in future, subject to stronger evidence – and this should not involve a second referendum.

Referendum timetable

Following the council meeting a meeting was held on Tuesday with Rother District Council planners to agree final amendments to the text and plans.

Rother’s election unit is currently busy with both the district and town/parish elections , and a possible European parliament election in three weeks time, but a referendum for Rye and two other areas on Neighbourhood Plans might be arranged before the summer break.

In the meantime a leaflet is being prepared to distribute to everyone in Rye which would summarise the Plan and underscore the value of having one.

But nothing is certain yet – and the introduction of Civil Parking Enforcement may produce more evidence in respect of parking issues. Possible steps could also be taken to protect our green spaces.

Scouts and other local youth organisations process into St Mary’s church for the annual St George’s Day service where they renew their vows.

Strandliners sought a grant towards the cost of a website as organiser Andy Dinsdale explained: “We are not just litter pickers and we need the website to disseminate information and change public behaviour”.

And, despite some concerns being raised, the request was supported on a named vote.

Music noise raises concerns

Concerns had been expressed by elderly residents living in Devonport House about possible noise from the Waterworks micropub on the corner of Tower St and Rope Walk if its licence was changed in respect of music.

But, after it was pointed out that residents had an immediate remedy under licensing law if the change was abused, the councillors agreed to support the change on the basis that the conditions were strictly adhered to.

Rye News Editor in chief Charlie Harkness, making nearly his last appearance as a town councillor, navigates past the St Mary’s scaffolding as repairs are done to the church roof.

The final item of my final meeting as a town councillor (see photo left) was a proposal from Rye College for a synthetic football pitch with floodlights, a spectator area and changing facilities which the Planning Committee agreed to oppose.

Around a dozen objections have also been made directly to Rother District Council about the plan, particularly from those living in nearby Tillingham Avenue, as the proposal includes community use in the evenings and at weekends.

As well as being concerned about the impact on local residents, councillors were concerned about light pollution, the impact on the environment and the loss of green space, and the lack of consultation in advance – either with Sports England or the local community or other possible interested parties.

All these matters may however surface again on the agendas of the new council.

Image Credits: John MInter , John Minter .

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