Go electric


Last week Rother District Council (RDC) launched a consultation exercise on its corporate plan that outlines priorities to 2027.

At the top of the to do list is their plan to make the local authority carbon neutral by 2030 in order to address the global climate emergency. To help deliver that, one of the key objectives is the roll-out of electric charging points in RDC car parks.

The council recognised that in Rye one of the key barriers to people upgrading their car to an electric vehicle is the lack of places to charge them in a town where many people don’t have a driveway. In addition, concerns have been raised that visitors and tourists with electric vehicles will be put off from visiting Rye if they can’t recharge their car.

The number of people with electric cars is on the rise with 10% of all new cars sold last year in the UK being electric or hybrid. Predictions are that this number will increase rapidly in the coming years therefore introducing charging points, for both residents and visitors, has become a council priority.

The type of charging point and their location will be fleshed out during the year, but it is expected that they will be installed and operational by the end of 2021.

In their new corporate plan, the council outlined ten objectives relating to:

  • Climate emergency
  • Financial stability
  • Increase the supply of affordable housing
  • Housing list reduction
  • Housing supply
  • Empowered organisation
  • A fairer society
  • Development of Rother’s economy
  • An open council
  • A town council for Bexhill-on-Sea

You can read more about RDC’s plans in detail, and have your say, here. The consultation runs until March 17.

Image Credits: Kevin McCarthy .

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  1. Some might expect the Rye Neighbourhood Planners to say that we predicted a demand for electric vehicle charging some years ago and wrote (RNP CA9) a minimum requirement for two spaces into the plan. We saw spaces allocated at the Station as there was power, security, access and it was a central point for Rye. Following our negotiations with Network Rail, the proposal was rejected, therefore it is welcome that Rother District Council is now progressing a plan for spaces on their car parks. As there are numerous considerations, we look forward to the consultation that should follow.

    For some weeks Neighbourhood Planners have also been working with Rye Town Council on planning policy issues. There are three specific pieces of work under way: (1) the revision of the Local (Rother) Plan; (2) the revision of Rother District’s planning process and (3) the important Rother District Corporate Plan. Papers and some discussion can be seen in Rye Town Council minutes.

    On the first, we have already reviewed all those development site assessments in the supporting documents of the Neighbourhood Plan, had them endorsed by Rye Town Council and reported back to Rother. The next stage is awaited.

    On the second, there is a dialogue with Rother abut processes. We have already made some points based on our Neighbourhood Planning experience.

    On the third, we are examining the draft Corporate Plan and getting ready to pose some questions in programmed video conferences. A sample of questions include:

    – Climate Emergency: given that we are in the year on COP 26 (reported earlier in Rye News) is the plan ambitious enough? Important for Rye what about mitigations for all the flood risks and sea level rise? Is Rother District doing enough with partners? In work on “green spaces” the Neighbourhood Plan underscores their importance to Rye. Do we want to avoid development of any green or other space not allocated in the Neighbourhood Plan?

    – Finance: Post Covid, there is a requirement for fresh consideration of both income streams (particularly business rates which, with rents can be crippling) and services for the vulnerable. RMA stepped up during Covid; what is the plan for the new normal?

    – Affordable Homes. The Rye record is frankly appalling, with developers justifying lack of scheme viability, within the rules, to avoid provision. Why are there brownfield development sites owned by ESCC still lying empty? Should there be local Council led schemes? What part are the “not for profit” social housing companies playing in securing larger numbers of social or affordable stock? What part will CIL play? How is future housing need going to be calculated, to reflect the demand for starter homes by young local people and smaller homes into which the elderly can downsize, given that there are rising numbers of second homes and buy to let in the Town?

    – Housing Supply. We have written and spoken to Rother District (strategists and planners) at length on this, mainly to underscore the importance of the Rye Neighbourhood Plan but also in an attempt to prompt local action to secure the building of new homes. We have been reassured about Rother’s support for the Plan, in which allocated plenty of development sites, which were agreed by local Referendum. There is some unease about the amount of land around Rye in the hands of one developer and the lack of clarity about longer term proposals. However Rye needs inward investment but not land banking and certainly not unnecessary planning delays. Is Rother doing enough with developers to encourage progress? Is it talking to ESCC about the latter’s brownfield sites?

    – Open (Local) Government: It would be regrettable if there was a return to decisions about Rye being taken elsewhere and without detailed local consultation. Elected members should work hard to communicate the key issues in a timely fashion and with a clear focus on the interest of Rye.


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