Following the Environment Agency’s request for a Rye Town Council view on whether “bikers” should be stopped from parking on the agency’s land at Strand Quay, the council decided on Monday that the bikers should be “let be” – but the council needed to find ways to cut down the noise and speeding of some bikers so they were a bit quieter.
Stephen Mallett, SE rep of the Motorcycle Action Group (MAG), sat in on the Zoom debate to put the bikers’ point of view, but also to see how they could help. He pointed out however that “I can’t police this on your behalf, but we can work with you” and Councillors Chris Hoggart and Rebekah Gilbert had already been working on getting some messages across in the “biker media”.
However the police also needed to help, and a recent police speeding clampdown near Rye seemed to possibly have had some effect in recent weeks – thought it was mainly car drivers who were caught. But very early morning and very late evening noisy bikers were mentioned as major offenders, both in Rye and in surrounding villages.
The bikers’ representative said the Strand Quay parking space was very popular, particularly this year when there was so much overcrowding because many people had to holiday at home – and the noise problem could go away if there was more enforcement. But they might be able to help with leaflets or posters on the lines of “Behave – or lose it”.
Councillor Ian Potter said there were two distinct issues to consider – the anti-social minority, and the Strand Quay parking – which was better than other options, and the bikers may simply park elsewhere if it was closed off.
Councillor Cheryl Creaser said there were bikers groups who did lots of work with kids and hospitals, but there was a problem minority whose exhausts shook her house on the A259 at eleven o’clock at night.
Councillor Shaun Rogers said the council should ask the bikers to police themselves more as the police cannot be everywhere, but the police should be asked to do more on weekend mornings and late nights. However he then had to vanish as he was on call as a fireman, and a fire had been reported.
Councillor Rebekah Gilbert said shutting the parking on Strand Quay would be cutting off our nose to spite our face as the space would also be lost to families, dog-walkers and other pedestrians too.
Councillor David Ampthill said it was the noisiest summer he could remember for 20 years and the key was the police. Councillor Dave Bookless, a past biker himself, said noise was a problem, but there had been bikers there for years – and he felt they should be kept where they were – and they had become an attraction in themselves and their bikes.
Councillor Jo Kirkham said she had often met bikers who had come back in cars with their families to see the town and Councillor Chris Hoggart added that the Environment Agency should allow the parking to continue. Councillor Andi Rivett said he thought the agency was concerned about speeding and noise, but these were policing matters, and the agency were not really that eager to close off the Quay.
Councillor John Breeds (senior) said he did not object to the bikers, but his brother had been driven out of town by them. “For him” he said ” the bikers were the final straw”.
Councillor Andy Stuart said “we need to be positive and get stuff out to the biker magazines saying we are open for business – but a small minority are spoiling it”.
Councillor Ian Potter moved that the agency be told that the council did not want the parking to stop, but they should seek help from MAG to get their concerns across and it was agreed with no votes against – and the MAG representative added “we can say that the council has bent over backwards and perhaps they’ll respond”.
Image Credits: John Minter .