Mayor averts Xmas shops headache

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Green ahead of its clean: the sad face of Landgate

The Landgate clean-up that was due to start this month has been postponed because it could have involved the closure of Rye’s one-way road system up Hilder’s Cliff for three days in the build-up to Christmas.

David Russell, a Rother councillor, told Rye News that he had received an update from district council officials. It said: “I can advise that invitations to tender for a condition survey of the Landgate arch have been sent to three architectural specialists with a return date for submission set for December 7, 2014. All have confirmed their interest.”

The note continued: “To enable full access to the site for the survey an internal clean of the Landgate is required. A specialist contractor has already been invited to quote on the works, and following a site visit have submitted their quotation.  The work includes the removal of pigeon guano and other debris from the internal walls and floors of the Landgate and the disposal of the waste at a specialist site. It is anticipated that the work will be completed over two to three days and will be completed between 8am and 4pm daily.  The price for this work, dependent on the time taken, will be about £6,500 and is subject to Rother obtaining a road closure order with East Sussex County Council for the duration of the works. I will update you when I have the dates. Officers are now waiting on the receipt of the tenders for the survey and, subject to final costs, plan the works for spring 2014.”

Russell himself was not sure whether the road closure could be arranged before Christmas. “But the cleaning contractor is standing by,” he said. “After the three days of works, the council can get on with the condition survey preparations and we will learn what needs to be done to stabilise the site. Then there is a rotten flagpole that needs to be removed; ensure that the other pole is safe to carry the flag which RTC has undertaken to supply; and try to move forward on the floodlighting and clock (with a mind of its own). I will keep pressing for satisfactory progress.”

When Richard Farhall, Rye’s town clerk, heard of the possible road closures, he contacted Mayor Bernadine Fiddimore. He later emailed Rye News to say: “In order to protect trade in the High Street, the mayor has asked local Rother Ward councillor Lord Ampthill [David Russell] to ensure that the proposed road closures associated with the ‘deep clean’ of the Landgate do not take place prior to Christmas.”

A sigh of relief all round, no doubt, from shoppers, shopkeepers, hotels and restaurants. Not to mention the bin men. Thank you mayor!

Photo and additional reporting: Nick Taylor