Larry Cooke farms on the marsh and is the director of the Rye Cattle Market Company responsible for the car park. He spoke to Rye News last week.
The Rye Cattle Market Company Limited is one of the oldest limited companies in England, founded in 1859 by a group of local farmers to buy the land and have a livestock market close to the railway station.
The land remained in use as a livestock market until 2001 when, like most of the smaller markets in the UK, it was forced to close by the foot and mouth disease outbreak and the introduction of new regulations. The car park is closed for parking on Thursday to accommodate the general market. This particular arrangement has been in place since 1962.
Larry Cooke is fully aware of the importance of the car park to Rye and has deliberately maintained a very reasonable charge for parking. It is currently £2 all day – probably one of the best value car parks in the southeast. However, in recent years the car park has become very much busier on every day of the week including Sundays. The occasions when the car park is full are no longer rare. The demand for parking spaces is bound to increase when the new parking regime, with meters and wardens is imposed on central Rye.
It is partly the need to create more parking spaces that has led to the review of the arrangements with the neighbours regarding access to their premises through the car park.
The vets and the Cinque Ports pub had access under the terms of a licence. The licence with the vets will now not been renewed and expired at the end of July. The licence with the pub is due to expire at the end of September. Negotiations are taking place between the Rye Cattle Market Company and Shepherd Neame, the owners of the pub, to have a limited licence for large service vehicles only.
The removal of the access has caused inconvenience especially to those who have used it on a regular basis. More vehicles will have to use the entrances on Cinque Ports Street which is a narrow and busy road. There may be ways of making this safer and hopefully, this will be considered.
The Cattle Market car park remains an essential part of Rye and it is lucky for the town that it is operated by a 150-year-old company, still owned by members of the local community, and that this company is positively generous when compared to many other car park operators.
Image Credits: Rye News library .