News from the Town Hall


The Speakership of the Confederation of the Cinque Ports transferred to Rye on 21 May and, until the town council appoints a new mayor, the current speaker is Michael Boyd.

The town steward and enquiry services (by post, web, email, telephone and message) continue.

We are currently Covid-19 risk assessing the remaining town council activities and services in anticipation of them being reinstated / opening in the not-too-distant future – weddings, the Rye Information Point (for visitors to Rye), and ‘in person’ council meetings in particular.

There is an expectation that weddings may be permitted, in a limited form, from June 1, but we do not anticipate being ready to host any until July. Our main difficulty (shared with others) is sourcing sufficient screens, sanitiser, wipes, gloves, cleaning materials, masks etc – and the acquisition of these will determine when activities / services may safely return.

When may business resume ? 

Subject to government proclamations on gatherings and social distancing – and the availability of materials / equipment – I anticipate that the earliest it may be possible to safely open the Rye Information Point in the town hall – and hold a socially distanced council meeting (but not at the town hall) – is July or August.

If it is not possible to hold an ‘in person’ council meeting by the end of August, the council will need to meet remotely in order to approve the annual accounts and annual governance and audit return by the August 31 deadline.

The majority of councillors have expressed a preference not to hold remote meetings for a variety of reasons – including lack of suitable equipment, past / recent unsatisfactory experience(s), ensuring inclusivity, or no previous experience.

Could High Street be closed briefly ?

A number of councillors are considering what might be done to help businesses operating in the town achieve social distancing requirements for their customers. Rye’s narrow pavements – and the loss of the pavement fronting the George – severely restricts the ability to socially distance.

One suggestion that is being explored is closing the High Street to vehicles at certain times to allow pedestrians to walk / queue in the road. We are waiting to hear if there is a lawful power to permit this.

Image Credits: Rye News library .

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  1. Yes please, let’s close the High Street at certain times and we will be able to see if we could not continue it when we go back to a new way of living as this virus is not going away for a few months yet as test and tracing is no where near solid enough being rolled out across communities.

  2. This is a great time to experiment with closing the High St at certain times. If it works well then may be we could continue it into the future. Traffic and parking is unbearable in Rye town, spoiling it for everyone who lives here and comes to visit.

  3. I know the starting point for consideration of closure of the High Street is social distancing, but it must be possible to simply close the High Street to traffic on both Saturday and Sunday without any difficulty at all. Certainly, say, between twelve and six. I accept that deliveries to all the businesses are an issue, but rare at the weekend. A permanent ban on traffic at the weekends would be fabulous for Rye and for all visitors.

  4. There was a time when all deliveries had to be done by 10am or similar, white van man doesn’t need to worry about that, he just parks on the footpath.

  5. What a great idea!! Lets close off the High Street, after all Rye is no different to any other town, there is nothing unique about the residential and business mix in Rye, deliveries don’t matter they can be made before say 06:00am or maybe even at mid-night. I am sure residents that dare to own a car will not mind being told you cannot drive anywhere near your home or shop, should you live anywhere in the vicinity of the High Street. Perhaps those who do mind could buy a motor bike to weave in and out of the ‘melee’ that now takes over the High Street, avoiding the tables and chairs of course, oh… and the odd one or two the worst for wear from too much alcohol…but don’t worry the police will be on hand to sort out any issues. The cobbles can be dug up and put in a piled at the Landgate if you want it to be the same as every other town…you replace with tarmac! Access for emergency services don’t really matter? ESCC highways will help with the dig up of the cobbles as they want to install the ‘pay for parking machines’ to get some of their £600000 back they intend to spend (of our taxes) across Rother on Civil Parking Enforcement…. ah thats a problem, they need cars in the High Street…oh just double the charges problem solved!

    Lockdown has clearly been hard for some…………….

  6. I must admit that I can’t see the logic of going for a high tech, high cost complex parking control system without first trying a low tech, low cost solution to addressing the problem (like disks). We know that Rye’s problems are rather different to Bexhill’s, so why is “one size fits all” being foisted upon us?

    I do find it revealing that in these days of lock-down, with shops, cafes, cinema, and pubs closed and very few visitors about, you STILL can’t find a parking space in town…….


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