Lots to discuss at RTC meeting


Just before Rye’s Town Council took a break from meetings during August it decided narrowly not to support parking controls in the town. But, at its first meeting in September, it discovered the issue will not go away. Also there are a number of other controversies still bubbling along as well. Former Town Councillor Heidi Foster reports:

Police (or lack of them)

It was a very interesting full town council meeting on September 5 and, once the preliminary administration was dealt with, there was a presentation by acting Inspector Dan Russell on the new PCSO (Police Community Support Officers) organisation in Hastings and Rother announced earlier this year following budget cuts.

As I understood it, it seems that Battle and Rye now share nine PCSOs while Hastings has 15, and, depending where the danger points are, they can be exchanged. In terms of the non visibility of the police in Rye, which people complain about, Dan Russell explained that they target areas with most anti-social behaviour and that resources are directed accordingly.

In answer to a question, he thought that social media on the whole was a positive thing as it gives the public a more immediate way of passing on any necessary information (instead of hoping they might bump into a policeman).

In terms of Rye’s police station, he was adamant that it would not shut. Former councillor Mike Eve made the suggestion (from the public gallery) that it might be a good idea to sell the building which is underused, look for a smaller place for the staff, and use the money to train more PCSOs.

Camber drownings
RNLI lifeguards may be at Camber next year
RNLI lifeguards may be at Camber next year

Rother District Councillor (RDC) David Russell suggested in his report that Rother was looking at various options concerning swimming safety at Camber Sands and is waiting for the result of the inquest into the five young men who sadly drowned recently in Camber. [The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI), provided lifeguards for the last week of the summer school holidays and RDC is talking to them about a contract to provide lifeguard cover next year. Editor]

Public toilets, Landgate and parking

There is still no solution, he said, as to how to devolve the provision and maintenance of public toilets in Rye. RDC has been seeking to pass this task on to others for some time.

Local County Councillor Keith Glazier talked about the issues around parking and introducing traffic wardens (the Civil Enforcement of Parking regulations) , and said ESCC (East Sussex County Council) is discussing this with Rother and Wealden District Councils and how best to take this forward.

Glazier said that there was the will for a solution and another meeting is to be scheduled, but there would be setting up costs. But the meeting was also told that any Rother car parking money collected in Rye cannot be used for any other projects.

RDC Councillor David Russell said the cost of repairing Rye’s historic Landgate archway is mounting daily – and my question is “what is being done about it?”. [As the last meeting was last year, and the discussion of an architect’s report was not helped apparently by sections being blacked out, Rother’s neglect of this historic monument surely needs urgent attention – and all the bodies represented at last year’s summit should be pressing for action, Editor]

Grant requests
Rye's new Street Pastors, local police and church members get ready to help
Rye’s Street Pastors, local police and church members get ready to help

One agenda item covered requests for grants, and the street pastors  were asking for £1,000, part for training and part for equipment like defibrillators (for use in case of heart attacks). It was suggested that as Rye already has two, the pastors should seek advice from the Rother Responders on what to get.

The representative from the Rye Harbour Sailing Club (RHSC) explained why they were asking for £5,000. They are trying to be more inclusive and refurbish the showers and toilets. The decision was to fund £2,500 as RHSC was not just for Rye.

A member of the public asked why there had been no follow up from the very well attended police/citizens meeting in March about the parking issue. There was no definitive answer. Some thought it was the responsibility of the police, others the citizens. In fact I know that the citizen who suggested a possible solution was still interested, but said he had had no follow up from the police. The County Council (see above) is taking action though.

Dogged debate

There was a hilarious discussion about dog fouling/control and at the end I actually do not know what came out of all the recommendations, except that dogs are now to be allowed into the Gun Garden, if RDC agrees. In fact I think that this discussion should have included all of Rye as I see many people not picking up their dog waste. Perhaps more dog waste bins would be helpful.

Housing and other matters

Although the council had secured official approval to borrow up to £210,000 to buy a two-bedroom dwelling to let to a young Rye household at a discounted rent, the councillors decided narrowly not to go ahead with this plan and there were many positive and negative opinions.

Homes, empty for many years
Homes, empty for many years

For example one councillor suggested : “Would it not be better to buy several tumbling down houses which apparently are available (next to the Queen Adelaide pub in Ferry Road), do them up and help more people” while another said “Or perhaps wait and take up a suggestion from County Council leader Keith Glazier who told us that they are looking at different options concerning Tilling Green (now the social housing planned is not going ahead  and perhaps put this money with other groups which would then have a wider usage.”

At a previous Town Council meeting, the CIC (Community Interest Company) Directors present (who were to run Tilling Green’s new community centre  also mentioned that maybe that money or the Community Infrastructure Levy (a tax on new buildings) could be used to refurbish Tilling Green Community Centre so it was used by many more groups and individuals.

The Town Council formally agreed to work with the Rye Conservation Society on a proposal to restore the historic pump housing in Pump Street behind St Mary’s Church, which pumped water up to the higher parts of the old town.

Cllr Rebekah Gilbert brought up an issue about internal communications and whether a protocol needs to be considered as she was unhappy that an opinion of hers was printed in an “Opinion” article  in Rye News on line without her consent – and a sub-committee will now consider this.

Photos: Rye News library

Image Credits: John Minter .

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  1. We are so lucky to live in (or in my case, just outside) of such a beautiful town as Rye. However, it saddens me to think that the town is almost a no go area regarding parking. In a nutshell, it’s a disgrace. Cars are parked on dangerous corners, double yellow lines, even double parking, in fact just about anywhere. Do the town council members really think this problem will just ‘go away’? No it won’t. Word seems to be out that you can do what you like regarding dumping your car on the streets of Rye.
    For everyone’s sakes please someone sort this problem out. How about a traffic warden paid by results? On the spot fines? Anything must be better than the don’t care attitude of RTC towards this problem.

  2. I still don’t understand why Rye does not at the very least have a park and ride scheme using Gibbets Marsh and Rye Community bus?
    other towns manage it. Why not Rye?


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