Mayoral update

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Monday saw an important council meeting where a number of pertinent issues for the town were discussed. First off we had nominations for mayor to serve the town for 2024-25. I decided to stand for a third term for a number of reasons, and I was delighted to see so many people in the public gallery who were interested in the result. I know a few of those present wanted to say something, but it was decided by a majority of councillors that procedures would be followed whereby only councillors asked myself and Cllr Andy Stuart questions. The result was eight votes to deputy mayor Cllr Stuart and seven to myself. I am extremely grateful to Cllrs Creaser and Learoyd Smith for proposing and seconding me, and to those who supported me.

I wish Cllr Stuart all the very best indeed in his term of office next year and I am sure the council will work together with him to see a number of highly important matters facing Rye town council, not least the community leisure centre, the allotment transfer, affordable housing ambitions, going greener, a tourism strategy, and services being devolved from Rother District Council to the town council, such as maintaining Rother’s open spaces and possibly public loos. We have prioritised what we think as a council is important to work on for the benefit of the town, and budget accordingly.

During the meeting we approved the draft Rye leisure centre heads of terms between the county council and the town council. The new local charity that may run the centre will be meeting after Christmas to agree its administrative and financial arrangements. There is a long way to go, but it is a great start and encouraging that the facility may have a long term future as a community enterprise. Please continue to use it or lose it. I understand that longer opening hours will be in place from January.

A debate was held on how best to clean up the streets of Rye after bonfire night, and a grant was made to the Music Well for the great work they do with both their youth and adult choirs in terms of singing for wellbeing. We had an update from our county and district councillors, plus an in camera meeting with Dr Anthony Kimber of the Rye Neighbourhood Plan regarding specific sites in the town that may, or may not be wise to develop.

Rebekah and I had the great pleasure of supporting the mayor of Lydd’s event on Friday, December 8 at the ‘Cathedral on the Marsh’ with the fabulous Gurkha Band, with proceeds to the Gurkha welfare unit. It was a magnificent evening that nearly all Cinque Port mayors attended. Prior to this we visited the Conservation Society’s Christmas event at Rye town hall. On Sunday I was humbled to read at the Lights of Love service at St Mary’s Church, hosted by St Michael’s Hospice. Despite the horrendous rain, the event was well supported and I know touches many hearts, remembering loved ones who will be with them in spirit this Christmas.

Finally, please do come along to my family Christmas event at The Buttermarket, Rye Town Hall on Saturday, December 16  from 4pm to 5pm, which will be drummed off by Ryebellion drummers, followed by carols for all to join in, accompanied by the wonderful pianist Richard Eldridge. There will be mince pies (thank you, Rebekah) and drinks, plus chocolates for little ones given out by Mama Christmas. I do hope to see you there.

And really finally, may I wish you all a very happy Christmas time, with peace and goodwill to each and everyone one of you, and a good new year ahead. Thank you to all at Rye News for communicating with townsfolk and visitors alike to our wonderful town and enjoy a well-earned rest from editing for a couple of weeks. I look forward to being back with you in the new year.

Image Credits: Isabel Ryan .

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