Mobile home gridlocks town

An HGV comes to a halt within inches of a house and blocks the road

The A259 at South Undercliff was brought to a standstill for much of the morning of Tuesday August 6 because an articulated lorry, carrying a mobile home, couldn’t pass a parked car. In this instance the car driver would appear to be at fault. However if, as frequently happens, a van, coach or large lorry had been approaching from the other direction, the result would have been the same.

The police were ultimately called to manage the traffic and get it moving in a contraflow system until the owner of the car returned after about two hours.

Just one of many previous occasions when large vehicles have brought traffic to a halt

The incident has revived calls from local residents of South Undercliff for a purpose built bypass to help ease congestion through the town.

Editor’s note: We have commented before on the effect of traffic – and in particular heavy goods vehicles – on this road, including the stretch along Strand Quay to the Kettle o’ Fish roundabout. The situation is not helped when traffic is backed up along Wish Street to the same roundabout during level crossing gate closures.

Planned improvements elsewhere on the A259 could well produce an increase in traffic. The opportunity of a bypass was turned down by Rye residents many years ago and, despite the obvious need for it, it seems unlikely that, barring an accident of national news proportions, either the Highways Agency or government will re-open the possibility, at least in the near future. 

Image Credits: Vickie Nocera , John Minter .


  1. For people new to this town, we had the chance of a bypass 30 years ago, with 4 routes on offer, all rejected by nimbys, who have mostly passed on now, the preferred option following the railway line, was finally withdrawn because of the opposition to it, so here we are in 2019, and the chances of a bypass are nil, the utter chaos we have seen recently stems to the blatant disregard of some in south undercliffe parking on the stretch from shipyard lane to st Margaret’s terrace, probably the narrowest part of the a259 in Rye, and until the powers to be put in double red lines on this stretch, the inconsiderate parking, which also includes the pavement will continue, with a serious accident, waiting to happen.John

  2. As a resident of South Undercliff I fully agree with the comments made by John Tolhurst. I have lived in
    South Undercliff for 40 years and the amount of traffic has incrementally increased over those years.
    The road from Shipyard Lane to The Strand is very narrow. Also the pavement is very narrow (just under
    3ft) but this does not stop motorists from mounting the pavement if they cannot pass each other which,
    in turn, puts pedestrians at risk.
    The car in the above picture did not belong to a resident. There are no notices on the lamp posts to advise
    visitors that they should not park between 8am and 6pm. I have written to ESCC about this but nothing
    has been done!
    There is no doubt about it WE NEED A BYPASS!!!

  3. I seem to remember a plan shown in the last year on this news channel which showed a possible rearrangement of traffic around Rye. I thought it looked very interesting. Does anyone know any more about it?
    Do people who live along that stretch of the A259 have any access to any other parking? Could the Town Council survey the housing up to St Margaret’s as to their parking needs? Could the occupiers provide their thoughts anyway? Why had the car owner whose parking led to the blockage been parked there? Do large load transporters have to give notice of their movements?

  4. Several weeks back I watched with interest a PCSO wandering along the High Street ticketing ‘illegally’ parked cars. The cars were not really a hazard or blocking the street just on double lines is all (one ticketed was actually at the bottom of West Street).
    I asked said PCSO if there was a chance of him taking a look at the chaos visited regularly by bad parking along South Undercliff?
    He said he never got the time to get that far and restricted his work to the citadel area.
    I asked the same question last year at the ESCC ‘parking scheme public display/meeting’.
    Same answer.’We do not intend to patrol South Undercliff’ only the citadel area (where of course the revenue ticket spaces will be located).
    So there you have it folks. ‘If It ain’t in my backyard or I don,t make any money out of it, I am not interested’ is where we are at.
    Incidentally the same PCSO assured me that they had increased the parking regime along South Undercliff to include Sunday, ie seven days a week to help ease the situation? Beggars the question, if drivers don,t care on Monday to Saturday why would they bother on Sunday?

    • Cliff, the police do not get a penny from the issue of fixed penalty tickets. Any revenue goes directly to The Treasury. This includes tickets for parking, speeding, construction and use offences and even public order so there is no incentive to issue tickets in any particular area.

  5. I was referring to the new parking regime that is mooted to be coming into force (allegedly) soon in the citadel area. the income will go to ESCC parking services I,m told.
    If the regime does materialize then perhaps the PCSO freed up from citadel traffic duties could gather enough energy to take a look at the regular traffic chaos around South Undercliff?
    I won’t hold my breath though, it’s an awful long way from the police station and given the support when the George (which is much closer) caught fire I doubt it will happen.
    Joyce Mcleman (below) has it spot on

  6. There’s that word yet again “Citadel” Rye is certainly a town of two halves.
    One concern with a by-pass was that it would be seen from the citadel,
    Residents of South Undercliff say the footpath is only 3 feet wide, it doesn’t stop people parking on it to keep the road clear, all very admirable unless you happen to have a wheel chair, push chair or walking from.
    Cinque Ports Street is even worse, the stretch from the Station approach to Bannisters Corner very often has cars parked on the footpath.
    See it’s also permitted to park on both sides of the road in the top end of Rope Walk and as for Military Road, just park where you want.
    Rye council are having a special meeting to discuss Mayoring next year, may I suggest that there might be more important matters to discuss.

  7. I quite agree with Tony’s comments above, it’s time some real thought and action was taken by Rye town council, the parking problems in Rye are unbelievably chaotic and have been for some considerable time.

  8. Rye Town Council has been acting with other authorities on this very subject for the past decade and possibly longer which is why, very soon, a new regimen will be implemented to deal more robustly with the thoughtless, careless and illegal abuses over parking that have become commonplace throughout the town. When this happens, responsibility for enforcement will no longer belong to our hard pressed Police Force and they will instead be free to carry out the job most of them signed up for – fighting actual crime. Its an outrage that Police resources have been directed for so long at enforcing something that all of us are quite capable of avoiding by driving and parking responsibly and within the law.

  9. Dear o dear, a decade indeed, hardly something to crow about or am I missing the point.
    Surely causing an obstruction and blocking a road is still something the police can deal with, very few days pass when you don’t see an ambulance on blue lights going through Rye but we can rest easy because After ten years its being sorted.

  10. As a resident of South Undercliff I can confirm that we regularly experience, if not absolute gridlock, then serious congestion with traffic backed up in both directions bumper to tail with engines idling. Residents also regularly experience sharing the pavement with vehicles of all sizes – some of them not parked, but moving, occasionally at speed! The illegal parking all over town, and the roads, totally inadequate for today’s volume of traffic, constantly puts pedestrians and drivers at risk of harm. However, while I am concerned about risk to life and limb, I am even more concerned about what the traffic in our town is doing to our lungs. All the properties in South Undercliff regularly get coated with thick layers of black soot. People in Rye are breathing in poisonous air on a daily basis. There are families with children living along South Undercliff, and I know of incidences of lung cancer and other respiratory diseases among residents. How much longer can we allow this to go on?


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here