Council’s three headaches

Rye Town Hall's Council Chamber could attract a crowd on Monday

Rye Town Council meets next Monday night (January 27 at 6:30pm) in the town hall in Market Street to consider a lengthy agenda including

  • setting a council tax rate for the next tax year, 2020-2021;
  • discussing civil parking enforcement (CPE) in the town; and
  • commenting on a Ferry Road planning application.

The meeting is open to the public, the agenda can be found here, and reports should also be received from the two Rother district councillors (who have planning responsibilities) and East Sussex County Council chairman Councillor Keith Glazier – whose responsibilities include parking and some (but not all) roads – as some of the town councillors’ decisions could affect them.

The county council’s planning committee discussed the introduction of CPE in Rye with parking meters last week, but Rye’s parking problems may not disappear – and could actually get worse.

The district council, which recently considered one planning application for a large number of homes off Ferry Road, now has another – for the site opposite (on the other side of the road by the level crossing ) which raises a number of issues, including possible traffic chaos, so that application is also on the town council’s agenda.

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

On the agenda as well is the loss-making Heritage Centre on Strand Quay (whose losses stopped the town council giving out most grants in the past year, except those for Christmas in Rye and the Community Transport, and led to at least one asset being sold off).

However the Heritage Centre’s accounts to November do show a predicted loss of nearly £12,500 by the centre being reduced nearly to a break-even figure after various cuts and changes were made.

Turning to the town hall accounts to November (also on the agenda) the income from weddings there has nearly halved, probably as a result of the summer fire at the nearby George hotel.

Income from Town Hall Cottage and the discounted accommodation was also well below expectation so far – though most income comes from the rates paid by every household, which added up to £174,545 for the year 2019-2020.

On the expenditure side support for the Heritage Centre was cut from £12,500 to £5,000 and payroll costs have been slashed from £120,000 to £70,500.

The draft budget for 2020-2021 for the town council has over 60 notes attached to it (explaining the detail), but the conclusion is that Rye’s share of the council tax (for a band D home) for the new tax year would increase by only 4p (four pence) a week to £1.77.

Council tax also includes payments to the county and district councils (both of whom expect to increase their charges), the police service, and a charge Rother District Council makes on Rye householders for looking after its property in the town (and which is nothing to do with the town council).

The town council will also be considering on Monday whether to lift its suspension on grant applications, its timetable for next year’s meetings, and the transfer of the Heritage Centre to a new charity.

Image Credits: Kenneth Bird , Heidi Foster .


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