Mayor reports: Rye Hire saved

Rye Hire, all you need and under one roof.

It’s been a busy fortnight for council meetings since I last wrote. We had the annual town meeting at the community centre on June 13, which was well attended. Thanks to all those who came along to ask or answer questions. The Town Clerk took a note of subjects raised and will follow up on anything he offered to help with, so grateful thanks to him.

On June 15, Rebekah (my Mayoress and Town Councillor) and I had the great privilege to attend Brompton Barracks in Chatham, for the beating of the retreat. It was a glorious sunny evening and we were made extremely welcome by officers in their beautiful Mess rooms and gardens, before listening to precision brass band playing, which was most uplifting. The event was also a chance to speak with other Cinque Port Mayors.

Rejoining the ports

I know there has been some rumblings about our withholding Rye’s subscription from the Confederation of the Cinque Ports; a tradition that is over 1,000 years old. We took such drastic action because we felt, as a council, that it had become too close to a private members club with the privileges of dinners and parades, and had forgotten its remit to serve its townsfolk. The approach worked.

I have spoken with the current speaker of the Cinque Ports, the Mayor of Hythe, and we discussed the matter at our full town council meeting on Monday, June 27. It was unanimously agreed to re-join the Confederation as they have voted in favour of taking our points on board, setting up a task and finish group and a longer-scale group to look at promoting the towns and sharing best practice on coastal environmental matters. We intend to take a pro-active role in both groups.

Sorting the Salts

Also at our town council meeting, we discussed the playing fields on the Salts. As many people have noticed, the grass has been cut under the trees around the edge, but left to grow in the middle (starting in no-mow-May). This has caused trouble for those who want to use it for its intended purpose of recreation. Even the most conscientious dog owner is struggling to pick up in such long grass and, as a consequence, no one wants to use the area to play in.

We have unanimously asked Rother District Council to consider cutting the grass in the middle properly, and leaving the edges to form a wild flower/re-wilding area. This hopefully solves the problem for everyone and returns the area to our community for its fullest use. Furthermore, we asked that some footy goal posts be put on the site so that youngsters can have a kick around after school. We support such exercise and socialising for our young people and hope that Rother will be accommodating.

For the first time, we had prayers read at the start of our meeting by Martin Wimbush of the Quakers. As part of my Mayoral year, I have asked for a multi-faith approach to prayers and we have already been joined by Reverend Fiona Gill of Rye Baptist Church, and look forward to welcoming others to open our meetings with such careful thought.

Celebrating Sussex

I was sorry not to be able to attend Sussex Day on June 16, which our fabulous Town Crier organised, as I was acting as port controller and working with the Harbour Master to bring a ship into the channel. Tide and time wait for no man and on this occasion, those duties called. I am grateful to Paul, and the Ryebellion Drummers for such a fun event, and for a rendition of Sussex by the Sea from Rebekah.

I enjoyed presenting the prizes to Rye football team on June 25. They have won their league and move up to their Premiership. I wish them all the best for the new season, and a big thank you to all who make this happen week in, week out, from coaching to washing the kit! The night before I attended a charity fundraising quiz night at the Rugby Club. Fixtures & Events | Rye RFC ( has all the events upcoming at the venue.

Next week I hope to be able to report on the report on a County Council presentation on parking, and see what their research has come up with.

Rye Hire saved

But the stop press for this week has to be that Rother Council has listened to the voice of reason and common sense and decided not to build on the site of Rye Hire. Mr Polly will be given a new lease for the premises, which will bring much needed peace of mind to him and his family. I’m grateful to everyone who supported Rye Town Council’s campaign against Rother’s development plan. This much-needed and much-loved business will stay as we all want it to, to serve the town in so many ways, and we are relieved that Rother recognises Rye Hire’s importance – not only to Rye, but the villages and parishes surrounding it.

Image Credits: Nick Forman .


  1. Very good news about Rye Hire. For the owners and their customers and future customers.
    If it was all our collective effort of writing to the councillors …pleased it was worth while on this occasion.

  2. Well done Andi, looks like you have made a pro-active start to your Mayorship. Key now is to the pressure on behind these initiatives if they meet with negative responses in the first instance. Agencies like Rother DC and ESCC must be persuaded to listen to Rye and the good news about Rye Hire is a great start

  3. It’s great for the town of Rye to have a mayor like Andi Rivett,hands on in supporting the town not only manually as we have seen at Christmas, but also in every other way across the town,engaging with all,and keeping us up to date,with what’s going on in and around the town, sadly what we have not witnessed from our elected representatives on Rother and East Sussex Council County Council.

  4. Really pleased to hear that the Salts may be made useable again for young (and older!) people to play football etc. Such a shame to see them in their current state. I spent many very happy hours playing football and cricket on them on the early 1960s. How we would have loved football goals. We used the hockey goals if they were up but were usually chased out by the grounds man to the cry of ‘Get out that goal’!

  5. Wonderful work all round Andi especially delighted about saving Rye Hire. A lot of good news in this post!

  6. Andi Rivett great news about Rye hire and the salts it’s really great to know our mayor is on the top of his game keep up the great work

  7. Brilliant if there could be some goal posts put up in the salts, currently my son uses the park in Mason road to play footie.
    I’m sure this would make this area a more usable place for all.

  8. They should never have been taken down by Rother from the football and cricket Salts, when Rye Town left for pastures new at the Rugby club, apparently someone was moaning about the out field being scuffed up, never a problem when Rye United played down there.

  9. This is very good news – but can I join Cllr Stevens in expressing my resentment at the charge that your two District Councillors were not involved in this happy outcome. I too lobbied fiercely and visited Mr Polly to express sympathy and support. It is sad that some of your correspondents still want to arraign RDC which has behaved responsibly and compassionately throughout.

  10. This is wonderful news from Rye Town Council – the last two years have been stressful for us but the support we have received from so many in our community, the Mayors and Councillors have carried us through. Thank you all so much – and good luck Andi and Rebekah for your term in office.

  11. I apologise if I have ruffled some feathers mentioning our district councillors in my post,good too see them working behind the scenes in helping to save Rye hire,as it was their council trying to build on the site,maybe now they can become a bit more vocal through Rye news, anything to say about our Landgate tower,that’s becoming overgrown again, and let’s not forget the old town Salts, which has become an overgrown mess, just a couple of starters to adress,and when you have achieved this,there are plenty more eyesores in the town,that need to be addressed,from these elected on behalf of the town, district councillors.


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