District council matters

Valley Park in Rye has been the last significant addition to local affordable housing

Next Monday, September 6, the Rother District Council (RDC) cabinet meets, and while the agenda contains nothing specific to Rye, there are one or two interesting pointers to the future.

RDC have recently formed a local housing company, called Alliance, whose primary purpose, it appears, is to locate and develop sites for social housing and shared ownership. They have granted them an initial loan facility of £80 million and although no projects have yet been started, available information suggests that, initially at least, they are concentrating on the Bexhill area.

There are of course several sites in and around Rye that might lend themselves to this form of development at some point in the future, including the site occupied by Rye Hire which is already under consideration for affordable housing.

RDC has also contributed to a number of other social developments, the nearest being in Icklesham where 12 units for social rent and three shared ownership homes are currently under construction, with completion due next year. Although Rother are supporting this, the primary funding agency is Homes England.

Another major potential site that has been noted is 34 acres of land in Northiam. Formally the home of a Blue Cross animal facility it has been acquired by Northiam Parish Council and is currently free for public recreational use.

The unmistakeable Pontins building in all its technicolour glory.

Not on the agenda, at least at present, is any discussion of the news released recently that the Home Office are in discussion with Pontins (amongst others) to acquire space to house some of the many Afghan refugees now coming into the country. Pontins own six sites altogether, current discussions relate to just two of them, one of which is understood to be the site at Camber.

A new chief executive of RDC, Malcolm Johnson, was appointed at Rother a year ago and his appointment is to be confirmed as permanent at the meeting of the cabinet. While his name may not be known to many of our readers, Rye News editor, Chris Lawson and this writer met with him a few weeks ago. He appears well disposed towards Rye and we are hopeful that this new era will bring a level of mutual cooperation, beneficial to both Rye and the district council, that has not always been evident in the past.

Image Credits: John Minter , Nick Forman .


  1. Razing the Rye Hire building to the ground would count as a philistine act in my opinion. For those with short memories this suggestion is similar to the dreadful proposal in the not-too-distant past to raze the old library (now the very much valued Kino) probably to sell to a developer for “an exclusive collection of desirable properties”.
    Does the “for the pleasure, benefit and enhancement of the lives of local people” ever get considered? Or is the default option always housing development over cultural and historical value. Eroding Rye’s old world charm would be an error – but by the time it is gone, the councillors responsible for the decision-making will be able to wipe their hands of the long-term damage for short-term gain & glory.
    Please broaden your scope for what is achievable.

  2. Houses affordable or social are urgently needed for this town, and not new homes and flats, for the wealthy second home owners,which will eventually be the ruination of Rye, as the young move away as they cannot afford to live here. With the government looking at ways to tax us for social care,surely the way forward is to quadruple the tax on second home owners, who generate very little to Rye, and they can certainly afford it,with so many of them with multiple ownership houses,denying our young getting on the housing ladder, and turning it into another gods resting place, like Bexhill.

  3. I agree with John Tolhurst, who can afford these houses? Second homes are pushing prices up and do nothing for our local economy, holiday lets at least are occupied a lot of the time. The master stroke of this government in doing away with the stamp duty during the pandemic was to invigorate the market but all its done is increase property prices. I feel sorry for first time buyers, it’s almost impossible for them to save up enough money for a deposit as prices ramp up.


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