Hourly dumpsters for 36 weeks

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The Queen Adelaide in Ferry Road will be knocked down to make way for housing

The planning application to redevelop the former Thomas Peacocke school site off Ferry Road (also known as the Lower School site) has been approved by Rother District Council (RDC).

The development will see the demolition of the Queen Adelaide pub, to allow better access to the site away from the level crossing, and the erection of 63 residential dwellings, comprising 38 houses and 25 flats – all non-affordable. And the land will have to be raised before building starts.

In its report RDC said: “Considerable time has been spent by planning officers to negotiate an acceptable scheme with a particular focus on relocating the access away from the level crossing on Ferry Road, providing a layout that reflects the heritage of Rye and a good level of amenity for future residents, ensuring flood risks are mitigated, and maintaining a landscape buffer along the eastern boundary.”

Former Thomas Peacocke/Lower School site awaiting housing

The report goes onto explain that none of the 63 dwellings on the site will be classed as “affordable” but the developers, Plutus Rye Ltd, will be contributing £77,948 to provide affordable housing elsewhere as well as £783,405 in Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) and possibly a further £421,092 in “new homes bonus” (which is currently being reviewed by central government so may not be paid).

During the two year consultation, where a revised application was submitted reducing the number of new homes from 72 to 63, a number of respondents raised their concerns about the removal of trees and scrub that has grown alongside the railway track. One objector was concerned about the effect on local wildlife, and highlighted “existing badger habitats, great crested newts and the presence of turtle doves.”

Rye Conservation Society also submitted a number of times outlining its objections. It reiterated its concerns on the loss of tree cover adjacent to the railway line and on the impact on biodiversity.

Flood risk mitigated
Flood risk is an ongoing concern for much of Rye, this site included. To prevent flooding, the ground level of the site must be raised by an estimated one metre and the Conservation Society raised concerns that building the “raised island” will have a major effect on traffic and local roads.

The Society estimates 14,200 cubic metres of infill soil will be needed, delivered by around 2,000 eight-wheeler dump trucks, “each carrying between 13 and 14 cubic metres of loose fill” soil. The Society rightly points out that all the lorries will have to come either along Udimore Road, with its parking issues, or through the town via Ferry Road.

RDC have said that work cannot start before 8am and must end by 6pm, Monday to Friday and between 8am to 1pm on Saturdays. If one assumes that one eight wheeled dumpster filled with soil arrives at the site every hour for five and a half days a week, it will take 36 weeks just to raise the land – and only then can the construction of the 63 homes start.

Protecting vegetation
One thing RDC has kicked-back on is removing the verge of vegetation alongside the “railway line, calling the developers proposed scheme “unacceptable’. As a condition Rother has said the verge needs “strengthening of the buffer planting at the railway boundary to provide improved habitat for nesting birds” as well as, ‘”to provide suitable habitat for nesting birds, to enhance the appearance of the development and to ensure that the proposed development does not prejudice the landscape setting and enhances the local landscape.”

Questions have been raised locally on how an adequate verge of vegetation and trees along the railway line to support wildlife can be retained while also squeezing in 63 homes onto what is a constrained plot of land.

More information on the application can be found on Rother’s planning portal and you can read Rother’s final planning decision here

Image Credits: Rye News staff , Kevin McCarthy .

13 COMMENTS

  1. Disgraceful!disgraceful!This is not right..once again the low paid in Rye have been dumped on!These houses and flats will end up being second homes for the elite which Rye have many of already! These homes should be for housing associations so that the workers and ex residents of Rye can buy/rent. This council is a disgrace. Won’t even put money towards maintaining The Landgate Arch!

  2. Completely agree, if it’s not cobbled or oak beamed this town just isn’t interested.
    The site has got to be raised a meter, when was the last time it flooded? If ever.
    Build social housing on the site and be dammed, do something for the people in Rye who live on the wrong side of the tracks, second homes, holiday are becoming the norm in this town, walk around after dark and look at just how many houses are in darkness, then of course the rich buy houses for mega bucks and it’s not long before they start complaining about parking, traffic and industry.
    It’s all very nice living in an ancient town but some people need to wake up and smell the coffee, Rye is more than a picturesque little town, it’s the home for normal working people who need consideration when it comes to housing etc

  3. Surely the money that Plutus Ltd are paying towards affordable housing, could go towards the building of social housing on Rothers site in Rye, when Rye hire have to vacate.this site given to them when they took over all of Ryes silver many years ago, would be ideal giving something back to the local community, looking forward to a reply from our representatives on the district councils, or will their silence remain deafening, until Reelection comes around again.

  4. “The inability of the development to achieve the values to provide affordable housing on-site is disappointing, but this issue has been scrutinised and the provision of affordable housing on site would prevent what is an otherwise acceptable housing development.” (Report on this planning application.) ” Inability”! “Achieve the values!”! Why is there inability? What values are embodied in all this? There is something very wrong with a society where property developers have no interest in building homes which can be afforded by people on modest incomes but only those which the wealthy can afford. It is even more wrong when the local council, which has the power to prevent it, colludes with developers by permitting this to happen. The sweetener offered by the developer is not an acceptable alternative to building good affordable homes on this site. Some of these properties may well be bought as second homes and stand empty for most of the year. How can this be right when so many people are desperate for even a modest home? Rother planners should examine their “values”.

  5. Incidentally, the website of Plutus Estates Limited, which is listed as ‘Persons with significant control of Plutus (Rye) Limited’ states: “…we believe there is a considerable need and opportunity for investment in the South East region to provide sustainable and high quality affordable homes.”
    (It may be irrelevant that Plutus was the Greek god of wealth.)

  6. This approval does beggar belief. More than 10,000 people have signed a petition to save the turtle doves that require this land for foraging. That was ignored by the Council. The Turtle Dove is the most endangered bird in the UK. Its population has declined by 94% since 1995 and halved in the last 5 years. Rother DC, having declared a ‘climate emergency’ just two years ago, would probably not hesitate in granting approval if it were the last site in the UK with turtle doves. The Tree Protection Order for the site has been totally ignored. Is Covid-19 not sufficient evidence of humanity’s disrespect for nature? Do we really have no choice other than destroying nature on our doorstep? Swampy, come to our rescue. Let’s all become Swampy.

  7. It is a shame that this former primary school site is going to end up as housing site,with no affordable or social houses on it. The ongoings over the years what was to become a Supermarket,which the majority of people who were asked wished for, and the complete mess 3 councils made of this from becoming a reality, does beggar belief, East Sussex County Council sold this site for millions, and of course developers wish to make a profit on it, and at the end of the day everyone knows that the incompetence of others, have made this development happen.

  8. This is a disgrace but in fairness, and I have not been as fan of either ESCC or RDC over the years, the central government is largely responsible for this situation. Over three decades they have not supported affordable homes and have stripped Local Authorities of money. Over the last decade authorities have lost in the region of 50/60% of their funding. This makes them weak. The current Communities Secretary, Robert Jenrick, has supported friends like Richard Desmond in their housing schemes and tried to get development on the green belt and other green field sites fast tracked, avoiding local authorities and neighbourhood plans. This was pushed back in the House of Lords. Now he is wanting local councils to sell “assets”, or in the current business world: be asset stripped. To throw a smoke screen over all this he plays to the gallery with talk of how our public statues representing our heritage are being threatened. Where? I only know of two. Colston in Bristol, where the statue has been a matter of debate for a long time and those who tore it down are being prosecuted, and Cecil Rhodes, where it is still being debated. I would suggest that neither of these people show the best of our “heritage”. To me the whole housing crisis as represented here is of the central governments making. It sold housing assets and never replaced them to satisfy the undoubted need. Elsewhere in Rye, there is talk of housing development as “much needed housing”, but is it? It is certainly not housing for those in need. One only has to look at house builders such as Persimon, and the scandal over their director’s pay and profits. As always in these matters: “follow the money”.

  9. I heard about a scheme in Nottingham where they are hoping to “reuse” all the empty office buildings in the centre and turn them into open spaces for the community to enjoy and benefit from.
    Obviously this will mean demolishing the office blocks. The person being interviewed was asked about the financial implications of turning lucrative office space into what might appear as free space with no obvious financial returns.
    His reply was interesting . He said that having open green spaces in a city center or the financial district of Nottingham would in fact generate money as it would draw people in and they would spend money in the area.
    I liked this idea and as Dominic said above, it’s not out of the equation that the land near the Queen Adelaide should remain a haven for wild life in particular the endangered Turtle Dove and actually research is being done as in Nottingham for green spaces to generate income.
    So perhaps RDC and ESCC might reconsider the proposals to build homes for the wealthy as a means of generating income (For whom ??)
    I realise this doesn’t solve the problem about affordable homes in Rye but a green space on this site is far preferable to building yet more homes for the rich.
    The gap between the rich and the poor has widened considerably during lockdown. It was bad enough before but surely this needs to be addressed and to use the Queen Adelaide site to positively benefit everyone by allowing it to remain a green space albeit with attractive alterations which encourage wildlife is the way forward.

  10. Julia’s comments would make more sense if we were an inner city community like Nottingham but we are not, we have 4 recreation fields in Rye, the football and cricket salts, the bonfire site and the old town salts,and then of course masons field.plus we are only 10 minutes from open country side all around us, of course a part of the green lung should never have been sold off by network rail, but by keeping development within our boundaries is better than what we are seeing all around us,like Tenterden, Hawkhurst and new Romney, however much we are against this unwanted development,sadly we all have to take our quota.

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