Rye’s voters gathered on a very cold, very wet Wednesday night (March 4) in Tilling Green Community Centre for the town council’s annual town meeting including a report back on the past year from Mayor Councillor Michael Boyd and questions from the audience. A longer report will appear in next week’s Rye News.
Parking was once again a major topic of discussion with the approaching arrival of parking meters and county council traffic wardens in the town – though the number of parking meters has now been cut drastically.
The new parking arrangements will also be reviewed in the late summer and there was at least one unhappy voice in the audience still opposed to the changes.
However the biggest unanswered question was why don’t more motorists use the Gibbet Marsh car park – and how can they be persuaded to to do so in future.
Apart from the approaching coronavirus epidemic the biggest immediate concern was the impending roadworks by the gas network company SGN either side of the railway bridge at the bottom of Rye Hill.
Town councillor Pat Hughes from the community bus charity explained in detail how SGM had failed to listen to her and some East Sussex County Council (ESCC) officers since last November about the problems the work would cause.
ESCC has now revoked permission for the roadworks for the time being, but ESCC leader Councillor Keith Glazier warned that there might be no simple solutions to deal with the likely problems.
The town council has had a mixed twelve months, the mayor said, as a sculpture in the town hall attic valued at £15-20,000 actually gave the council a windfall of £111,000. But this has been cancelled out to some extent in the last four years by an £80,000 reduction in the council’s reserves caused by persistent losses made by the council’s Heritage Centre on Strand Quay.
These losses forced the council into making various cuts and finally deciding to close the centre, but a charity will now run it from April 5 – and more volunteers are needed to help run it.
£25,000 is also needed to repair the Victorian clock on Rye’s medieval Landgate and the mayor has launched a fundraising appeal to find this money.
Residents’ rates bills will be arriving soon and, while other bodies like the police and the district and county councils are seeking the maximum they can charge, the town council is only asking for a 2.5% rise, or 4p per week from the average band D taxpayer.
Green issues cropped up as well and residents were asked by Dominic Manning to plant more trees around town (and say what sort they wanted) in order to tackle global warming.
The town council was also asked to pursue the issue of a cycle/pedestrian bridge over the River Tillingham between Tilling Green and Love Lane.
Mayor Making this year will be on Friday, May 8 as the bank holiday has been moved to the Friday, the 75th anniversary of VE Day.
Other issues raised included the growing number of potholes in local roads, and the lack of affordable housing, and next week’s issue will feature further reports from the town meeting.
Image Credits: Kenneth Bird , Rye News library .