Five weeks of chaos


A large electronic sign appeared by Ferry Road level crossing in Rye this week announcing five weeks of daytime road closures in Rye affecting Military Road, Fishmarket Road and Rye Hill between March 2 (in 10 days time) and April 3.

Those closures will affect hundreds of appointments at the hospital and large doctors’ surgery on Rye Hill as well as:

  • bus services to Peasmarsh, Beckley and Northiam (the 313)
  • and to Iden, Wittersham, Smallhythe and Tenterden (the 312),
  • Rye’s 326 community service serving Tilling Green, Udimore, Broad Oak, Playden and Houghton Green as well as all parts of Rye,
  • and special bus services taking pupils to and from school.

A public notice was also published detailing the road closures a few days earlier on February 14 which says that further information can be obtained from Network Management on 0345 60 80 193.

The notice was published by Philip Baker, Assistant Chief Executive, Governance Services Department, East Sussex County Council (ESCC), County Hall, Lewes, East Sussex BN7 1UE.

Rye Town Council (RTC) will be discussing these roadworks at its planning committee meeting next Monday, February 24 at 6:30pm in the town hall which is open to the public. RTC had sought an urgent meeting with the works contractors, as used to happen in the past before major disruptions, but this has not been forthcoming.

Five years ago when ESCC was resurfacing Rye Hill there was a similar lack of consultation with all appropriate parties with a similar last minute notice of what was proposed.

After loud protests the work had to be rethought and eventually took longer than planned in order to avoid and reduce the likely disruption. Monday’s meeting and possibly the annual town meeting on March 4 will probably hear similar protests and anger at what seems to be a repeat of what happened five years ago.

Next week’s Rye News will report on Monday’s meeting and remind readers of what happened in 2015 when ESCC last tried to close Rye Hill at short notice following inadequate consultation.

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  1. Have you seen the diversion route? I believe it involves Houghton Green Lane:

    Has a weight limit at the Military Road end.
    Is not wide enough for 2 ordinary cars passing each other at numerous points.
    Suffers terribly from potholes strewing brick sized debris onto the carriageway.
    Carriageway edges have been badly broken up by water erosion due to inadequate drainage.

    Anyone who knows this route will I think agree that it not fit for purpose. I wonder if Mister Baker has done his homework or just looked at Google maps. I will be contacting him to ask.

  2. I am not sure how far up Rye Hill the closure is supposed go but I presume Deadman’s Lane will get even more traffic movements than it already has which might even be tried by unsuitable vehicles which will then clog up that route. Not to mention the numerous potholes that have appeared along this lane too ! Why have householders in the area not received personal communications giving full details of exactly what is closed and what is not ?

  3. Why has the driver of the bus depicted stopped in the middle of the road, just after commencing a left turn, in order to take a photo of this day-to-day manoeuvre?!

    • I imagine if the driver had kept going they would have collided with the vehicle on the other side of the road, also shown in the picture. Its a long vehicle to turn and I wouldn’t be surprised if the lock and turning circle isn’t that great.

  4. i live in military road and rely on my groceries to be delivered. how will I get this done. there are many people in a similar position what are we suppose to do to survive. It was only a few weeks ago we had road works and here we go again.

  5. Thanks for all the comments – SGN not only never consulted with stakeholders (Rye Town Council, Playden and Rye Foreign Parish Councils, Rye Community Transport, Rye Hospital/Rye Medical Centre), but held back on informing them as well and ignored the grave concerns raised with them by ESCC’s Passenger Transport team in an e-mail sent 7th November 2019, (only replied 6th February). SGN also misrepresented the input of ESCC to me and misrepresented input of the bus company to ESCC Passenger Transport team.
    Phase 1 of the work designates Houghton Green Lane for the diverted traffic, very dangerous on a narrow lane with a primary school located part way along it, also after 5 months of rain it is in very poor condition; phase 2 shuts off Rye Hill at Bridge Place with a 20-mile diversion via Brenzett, Appledore in order to get 20 or so feet up the road, affecting hundreds of school children every school day in the last weeks of the Easter term and at least a thousand patients (and others) trying to get to/from Rye Medical Centre and Rye Hospital. The stakeholders are calling on SGN to reschedule the works for the start of the school summer holidays which will remove the school children issue and enable ways to be found to get people up and down Rye Hill. Working at that time would enable SGN to extend working hours (as they did last summer at Sandhurst) and finish the project sooner.
    Regarding Richard Farhall’s and Nick Forman’s comments, RDCT had no involvement in the taking of the picture used, I guess the photographer was standing on the corner of Landgate/Fishmarket Road and hoping for a decent shot – it’s probably not recent as we have no clean buses currently out on the road!

  6. They have been telling people in a very strange order. I received an email warning us at the local Sea Cadet unit from our headquarters in London on the 13th earning of disruption. The original email was dated the 10th February so why it took until the 14th for the official notice is beyond me.

  7. We are currently being surrounded by roadworks. Only today my journey to Hastings was disrupted by long term road closures at Beckley and Horns Cross, temporary traffic lights at various locations which seem to spring up like daffodils at this time of year, and, in particular, those at Fishmarket Road in combination with an illegally parked tradesman’s van in South Undercliff causing absolute chaos. In the evenings the A259 coast road is closed at various locations and the diversionary routes are also closed! Does anyone in ESCC actually co-ordinate any of these closures, and lay down absolute timescales and times of working to stipulate (and police?) minimum disruption to road users, transport operators, homeowners and the general public for what I presume is essential work?

  8. A brief letter to warn the parents of children attending Playden Primary school that the already seriously pot holed road (Houghton Lane and Houghton Green Lane) is deteriorating rapidly.
    I have registered a complaint with East Sussex Highways but rather doubt that anything will be done.

  9. As a volunteer Rye community bus driver I would like to comment
    On the position of the bus in the photograph.
    Maybe a cyclist was on the near side of the bus has set off or a pedestrian walking in the the road
    Thus making the driver react in a way to avoid a collision This has happened to me more than once at this junction.
    May I take this opportunity to say that we are always looking for volunteer drivers who are willing
    To drive the bus in a town with demanding driving skills.

  10. I know this needs to be done, but if coming from Hastings to Peasmarsh, the roads are so dangerous, pot holes everywhere, not fun when driving in the dark. Westfield village roads are rubbish, Northiam Road, roads are also rubbish and more closures that way too!

  11. The proposed roadworks have been cancelled. The county council have revoked SGNs license for the works. Obviously the works still need to be done at some stage , but hopefully SGN will consult with the local Town and Village Parish Councils , bus company’s and business owners, then we will get a better outcome rather than a large utility company assuming they can act as they wish and cause probable mayhem. I would like to thank our MP , County Councillor , Pat Hughes from Rye and District Community Transport and the chairmen of Rye, Iden , Peasmarsh and Rye Foreign parish council for their assistance with this problem.

  12. That is good news. But the question surely remains as to why the County Council agreed the works in the first place, without regard for the consequences to local users? And how they propose to manage such applications in the future, for these and other essential works.

  13. ….. and meanwhile the works at Fishmarket Road (which seem to consist of a pretty large, but unmanned, hole) continues to bring chaos to both local and through traffic on the A259. Why are the contractors able to disrupt traffic flows so easily and effectively for no apparent reason – they should be penalised, surely?

  14. Signs have appeared at the junction of Landgate/Fishmarket Road and Military Road/Rye Hill this evening (Sunday 8th March) advising that the SGN roadworks are back and implying closures of key routes with effect from 23 March for three weeks (i.e. Rye Road and Military Road). The ESCC website is unclear as to what’s happening so if these signs are to be believed, then ESCC and SGN appear to have ignored all the protests from the previous round.
    Anyone have a clearer idea whether these signs are to be believed?


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