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.
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 (ryerugby.com) 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 .