Countdown to the future


The people’s view of Rye’s future is in the making – and ends, as far as a survey is concerned, this weekend. Early signs suggest that pedestrianisation of Rye’s town centre and parking measures are the most controversial proposals in Rye’s Neighbourhood Plan. Residents and businesses have until the end of Sunday July 27 to make their views known although Anthony Kimber, vice chairman of the plan’s steering group, says that if someone stops him in the street on Monday and hands him a completed survey, it will still be read. It just won’t count towards the prize draw.

So far, says Kimber, responses have generally been in favour of the plan’s recommendations. But, judging from “some lengthy comments”, traffic measures and pedestrianisation are clearly contentious. Before the weekend about 50 e-surveys had been completed online and another 250 received at collection boxes around town.

The surveys can be returned to the Town Hall, Tilling Green’s Community Centre, the Premier Stores in Lydd Road, and Rye Library in the High Street. Even if these are shut at the weekend “just push them through the letter box” says Kimber. Or, do it online.

One resident, Rosemary Boucherat has written to Rye News in the hope of stimulating others to take part. The survey, she says, is “a great opportunity to improve the way our exceptionally lovely town works”. She is critical of the Tilling Green Community Centre plan. It is a “false economy” and “inadequate”. She has ideas about parks, paths, supermarkets, and junior sports areas. Boucherat isn’t too impressed by the fuss about parking and traffic issues. The fault, she contends, is with us: “many of us are too old or lazy to walk far from car parks.” To read her views see her letter.

Kimber is using Rye News this weekend to focus on one of the issues in the survey: housing. By 2028 Rye, including Rye Harbour, could well have another 400 dwellings and 20,000 sq metres of business space. That might be a planner’s target. But where should they go? He urges residents to have their say in the survey. Read his full Opinions article here.

Bernardine Fiddimore, Rye’s mayor and chair of the neighbourhood plan’s steering group, explains why a plan is important: “Once adopted they form part of the formal planning process and cannot be ignored.” The plan will be revised to take into account survey comments and then, after further consultations, a referendum will be held  – this requires majority support in order to be adopted.

The survey covers housing, development design, flood risks, business and employment, transport management, community wellbeing, green space and the environment. Surveys returned by the closing date are eligible to win two cash prizes of £100 and £50.


Photo montage: Tony Nunn

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