Housing to get green light

Former Thomas Peacocke / Lower School site awaiting housing

On Thursday, November 14 Rother District Council’s planning committee will formally discuss the application to build 63 homes on the Former Thomas Peacocke School / Lower School site on Ferry Road.

The application, which has been recommended for approval by the council’s planning officers, would involve the demolition of the Queen Adelaide pub and erection of 38 houses and 25 flats.

In their paper the council point out that the area has been identified for housing in the Rye Neighbourhood Plan and “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.”

While the revised application has been approved by the main statutory bodies, such as Highways England, ESCC and the Environment Agency, it has been opposed by Rye Town Council and Rye Conservation Society.

Rye Town Council have listed their concerns as over development on the site and insufficient parking, while the Conservation Society are concerned with, amongst other things, the loss of trees and natural habitat adjacent to the railway line.

Both organisations have also expressed concern about the lack affordable housing within the development. Rother have responded to this particular concern with “the applicant has provided evidence that the costs of development, including community infrastructure levy (CIL), are such that the provision of affordable housing is not viable.”

The council expect the development to generate a CIL of approximately £783,405 and will be looking for the developer to contribute £77,948 towards the provision of affordable housing off-site.

The full planning paper that will be discussed at the meeting on November 14 can be read here.

Image Credits: Kevin McCarthy .


  1. Rye town council are opposed, well what a surprise?
    Conservation Society are opposed, well what a surprise?
    It’s not going to have any affordable housing, well what a surprise?
    No surprises there then?

    • Tony, i think you have misread this article. Have another read. The Council and the Conservation Society are opposing this recent planning recommendation for very good reasons.

  2. Rye Conservation Society fully supports the use of this site for housing as is set out in the Rye Neighbourhood Plan (RNP). It is actually the largest designated housing site in the Plan.
    The Society’s objection to the current application relates to two main issues.
    The first is the complete lack of any of the 30% affordable housing required under Rother Core Strategy and the RNP. If affordable housing cannot be provided on the largest housing site there is little chance of any affordable housing being provided in Rye.
    Our second objection relates to the virtual destruction of the woodland belt along the boundary to the railway line.
    The developer is being asked to pay £78,000 towards affordable housing which will provide less than one dwelling. Rother would gain 63 units which will no doubt help towards remedying their lack of a 5 year housing supply and potentially £1m in Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) and New Homes Bonus.
    Rye gets 63 dwellings, although how many will be holiday lets and when it is built £196,000 in CIL funds when what the town asked for in its Plan was affordable housing and retention of green areas.
    That’s why we objected.

  3. One must agree with Rye Conservation Society, and Rye’s representatives on Rother district council, must insist to other councillors in the district, to refuse this application, if the 30% affordable housing is not included in this application, else it will set a precedence to other developers, to ignore any chance of local people getting on the housing ladder.

    • Wikipedia has the following definition
      “Affordable housing is housing which is deemed affordable to those with a median household income”
      A widely held view is that no more than a third of your income should be spent on housing costs – including utility bills and council tax if renting – mortgage interest and maintenance if owning.
      So a very rough calculation would be that if a median salary is £25,000 a year and other housing costs are about £4,000 a year then an average-sized house should rent for about £4,250 a year or £360 a month.
      Not very likely.
      The cost of housing has risen to unsustainable levels and needs to come down.

      • Don’t forget that this calculation is based on an average single earner in the household producing £25000. Whilst I appreciate that this applies in some cases, I suspect that in many there would be two earners, in which case the calculation assumptions start to become more realistic.

  4. Thank you Christopher. I was thinking more about the cost to buy an affordable house, the selling price, but your calculation for an affordable rent is interesting. As you say, it’s difficult to imagine a brand new house being let for £360 a month anywhere in the country really.
    The words affordable housing are bandied about, particularity in the press without proper consideration given to whether anyone on a low income such as the 25K median or above, could ever really afford to buy.
    Is Rother saying that affordable housing means rental so that landlords will buy the cheaper housing and rent them out? Does Rother (is it in their power?) impose a limit of the monthly rent in their policies? If not it makes a mockery of the term.
    I think we need to examine more closely the true meaning of affordable housing for Rye.

  5. I have no problem with the principle of using this site for housing. However, the application as it stands appears to largely obliterate the wooded strip adjacent to the railway line and railway station that supports turtle doves.
    The UK population of turtle doves has declined by 98% since 1970 and was halved between 2013 and 2017.
    Turtle doves are on the RED list for endangered birds of conservation importance – that means they are of the highest conservation importance in need of urgent action and protection. Turtle doves are on the verge of extinction in the UK, with Kent and this part of East Sussex holding a large proportion of what populations remain.
    The loss of suitable habitat for birds here in the UK is the greatest threat to turtle dove survival.
    Rother District Council should be ecstatic that we are still able to see and hear these beautiful, rare birds in Rye. The integrity of the habitat within the application site, proven to support turtle doves, must not be compromised in any way. For Rother to knowingly allow this to happen would be reprehensible.
    This planning application needs a completely new and thorough environmental assessment that recognises the value of the land for a critically endangered species. It needs to make clear that the wooded strip adjacent to the railway must be retained in full, protected from all disturbances and managed appropriately.

  6. The developer’s Biodiversity Report, by Greengage, submitted at a very late stage on 5 November 2019, completely failed to mention the turtle doves, which have been there for several years now.

    • Dear Ernest, I have just telephoned Greengage’s office and spoke to the person who apparently wrote the report. I asked about the turtle doves and clearly she had no idea what I was talking about it. I mentioned that Rye News had picked up the story and I wanted to know why the doves were not in the report–also mentioning that I had seen them on several occasions when at the station. She was polite but had no answers to my questions (when did you last visit? how long did the visit last? did you consult the Rye Conservation Society? Did you consult the Rye Harbour Nature Reserve?). It appears obvious from my consversation that the report submitted by Greengage is inaccurate. I asked them to keep me informed what they planned to do to correct their omission. Regards, Paul Camic

  7. The Town Council and many others argued robustly against the loss of the green corridor alongside the railway line and I was one of those who raised objections many many years ago when the first supermarket development was planned. We were supported then, and both the supermarkets involved included contingency for the protection of the area. How dare RDC now agree to its destruction? I am appalled! As for the ‘Affordable Housing’ issue, the last development at Valley Park didn’t exactly fulfill that promise with the lowest cost houses still being in the region of £275,000. However, our Neighbourhood Plan, newly adopted MUST be taken into account now and that specifies the inclusion of Affordable Housing in major developments like this one.

    • I agree, but FYI the Affordable Housing at Valley Park would have related to the Shared Ownership properties (houses and flats) managed by Orbit Housing Association which cost 50% less. It is preposterous to conclude that the proposed new development cannot provide Affordable Housing units. There is no real demand for ANY non-Affordable properties in Rye – there are several unsold currently at Valley Park.

  8. Thank you Bernardine for your pointer as far as a price for (not so) affordable housing in Valley Park.That figure of 275K will have risen by now.
    I do agree about the Turtle Doves David and the green corridor along the railway line.

  9. I care far less about ‘affordable’ housing than I do about the destruction of the wooded strip they propose to destroy.
    The plan should be rejected out of hand, until this wanton destruction of a valuable wild life mini habitat is taken out of it.

  10. We should all take notice of the words of the 1960’s song sung by Joni Mitchell called ‘The Big Yellow Taxi’ to cut a longer story short (full lyrics available on the internet) They paved paradise and put up a parking lot and they took all the trees and put them in a tree museum. Sometimes it really does feel as if we have lost sight of the importance of looking after our beautiful planet.

  11. Just three months after many years of work under four different mayors, with dozens of meetings involving countless numbers of town councillors and citizens, and a costly referendum following which the Rye Neighbourhood Plan (RNP) was made, it lies in tatters! Unused and abused.

    RIP the RNP!

    The Rother District Council Planning Committee voted through the planning permission on Thursday morning caring less about the RNP and the Town Council’s objections and RDC’s own Strategy relating to affordable housing on new developments than the developer’s minimum 17.5% profit margin!

    Lots of councillors claimed they were all for affordable housing, but qualified that by saying just not here at this site, at this time in Rye because the developer’s handsome profit margin must be maintained!

    No mention whatsoever about the turtle doves, other than the Officer’s disparaging remarks about ‘scrubland’ which followed up similarly dismissive comments in the written Report.

    Quite frankly, RDC should hold its collective head in shame, although it must be noted that Councillor Stevens did speak against the application.

  12. I fully support Andy Stuart’s comments. The government already offers grants to Local Authorities to plant trees and now the electioneering politicians are competing in their promises to plant more. The aim is of course to prevent climate change and benefit wildlife. Meanwhile Rye is set to lose the woodland it already has with its turtle doves and much other wildlife. How ironic!

  13. I’d like to clear up a widely-held misconception as to what is actually meant by affordable housing. It is NOT housing that is made available on the open market at an ‘affordable price’, it is just another name for social housing in all its forms.
    Rother’s Core Strategy defines affordable housing as:
    Affordable housing – Affordable housing includes social rented, affordable rented and rented and intermediate housing ( shared ownership), provided to specifically eligible households whose needs are not met by the market. Affordable housing should:
    – Meet the needs of eligible households including availability at a cost low enough for
    them to afford, determined with regard to local incomes and local house prices.
    – Include provision for the home to remain at an affordable price for future eligible
    households or, if these restrictions are lifted, for the subsidy to be recycled for
    alternative affordable housing provision’.
    Rother District Council housing service requires affordable housing to be provided through
    a “registered provider” such as Amicus Horizon.
    In the case of Valley Park, I believe 40% of the housing falls into this category.

    And, as for the turtle doves, RCS mentioned their presence in our letter of objection in January 2019.
    ‘We note that, in the ecological study provided by Tesco, evidence of badgers on the site was observed. Furthermore, Sussex Ornithological Society has indicated the presence of Turtle Doves, a red-listed breeding species, on the site’.

  14. I note the comments by Andy and Julian RCS. Is it really too late now to address the issue of the turtle doves and the destruction of the wooded strip? Isn’t there some way in which this important aspect of the application can be revisited?

    • I was thinking the same Gill. A Swampy type protest? Maybe this is is the only solution. It seems that Rother has made up its mind. But perhaps our new MP (for now) or whoever wins on the 12th could be asked to intervene.

  15. This is Rothers’ policy on affordable housing. I expect Anthony has included this in his RNP.
    It includes Julian Luckett’s helpful description of affordable housing above.
    Their report shows affordable housing built between 2005 and 2017. None in Rye but developments in Peasmarsh, Broad Oak and Bexhill for example. Some of it for the elderly which is included in affordable housing criteria


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