Petition follows traffic chaos

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The sign is clear, but the way ahead is clearly not on Thursday morning.

The hottest days of the year to date have this week, as often happens, brought thousands of visitors to Camber Sands with logjams of traffic spreading out in all directions on Wednesday and Thursday from the main ways in to Camber (Camber Road and Jurys Gap road) – with the traffic jams spreading back into Rye and along the A259, or up Rye Hill (the A268), and into the town centre – and no doubt with similar consequences for Lydd on the other side of Camber.

However this chaos has a major impact on local residents wanting to get on with what they have to do, their normal daily lives – rather than go to the beach – and a petition was started on Wednesday by local resident Jen Sinclair after that day’s events, which had attracted nearly 1,100 signatures by lunchtime yesterday, Thursday.

The Camber petition on change.org

Her petition said “The local economy needs these visitors and we welcome them, usually, and in manageable numbers… for years on bank holidays and particularly warm summer days the traffic and visitor numbers soar way above anything that is manageable or safe.

“During Covid, over the last few months, these visitor numbers have soared regardless of the day of the week….Rother District Council (RDC) have repeatedly posted on social media to politely ask people to not visit. This does not work.

“Today, the June 24 [Wednesday] the roads were gridlocked into and throughout the village… Local people could not get to or from work on time, local buses, postal services, community transport, mutual aid volunteers, medicine delivery vehicles were all affected. Today many school children were stuck on their school bus in queues for 4 hours in sweltering heat.

A policeman appears to be discouraging a car heading for Camber on Thursday, June 25

“This lack of consideration for the locals… is astounding! We are calling on RDC, ESCC [East Sussex County Council] and Sussex Police to do something!”

What “something” might be includes diversions, restricted access, penalties and toll charges according to comments made so far on the petition.

In the meantime, if the good weather continues, people will flock down to Camber Sands – particularly if their local swimming pools remain closed because of problems over social distancing – a problem apparently ignored on Camber Sands.

Indeed people were so eager on Thursday that, when police blocked the road at Lydd to visitors, they apparently just left their cars and walked to Camber with all their beach gear.

Camber Sands on Wednesday at very low tide. But high tide comes right up to the edge of the stones squeezing people much closer together.

Local Member of Parliament Sally-Ann Hart said yesterday (Thursday) that “she is horrified by the images coming out of Camber over the last few days and that she has spoken to the local police and engaged with ESCC, Rother DC and Camber Parish Council.”

She went to say that a meeting was being convened for today (Friday) between the county council, the police, Highways England and others to work out a way “in which we can reduce the numbers coming to Camber”.

Image Credits: Nick Forman , change.org , Jess Macdonald .

21 COMMENTS

  1. Similar problems at Winchelsea Beach and Pett Level, maybe caused by people turned away from Camber. Of course we should share our beautiful beaches but antisocial parking, dangerous overcrowding and rubbish everywhere cannot be ignored. Let’s hope the big meeting tomorrow can come up with some solutions.

  2. One must agree with Nearly a Ryer that a bypass through the centre of Rye was a non starter,but we were given several options,and the best option was a tunnel under the river rother,and then the bypass skirting camber castle,on its route to winchelsea, of course that wouldn’t have stopped the anti social bikers descending onto Rye. As we have seen this week,the town has been gridlocked with cars,especially yesterday with once again the crossing gates jamming in ferry road, and then the sheer volume of traffic trying to get to Camber, So now people think the knight in Shining Armour, Sally Ann Hart,will solve this 21st century problem,sorry no chance, we were given the chance 30 years ago, to help solve the chaos we are now seeing,and thanks to the Nimbys of the day, we will continue to suffer,until the powers to be wake up to the fact,the only answer to Ryes problems is a long overdue bypass.

  3. I don’t see how a bypass for Rye would solve the issues of the traffic and people trying to get into Camber and other local beaches. It might relieve the situation in Rye itself but just move the issue elsewhere.

  4. I agree with Clare that a bypass however much it is needed to alleviate the increasingly heavy traffic passing through Rye it would not solve the chaos in Camber. However as the bypass has been mentioned perhaps we could have a conversation on the great need for a bypass before this town and its roads become further damaged. I have experienced a gas leak and a power cut outside my house in Udimore Road all with in a month with the accompanying disruption from digging up the road. It is obvious the pipes taking the electricity and gas pipes under the road are breaking up under the weight of huge heavy lorries.Many other towns have bypasses around their towns. If the PM is as keen as it seems to have more big infrastructure products built it seems reasonable to include a bypass around Rye and should be added to the list.

  5. Pett Level beach has been overrun with people in this hot weather and parked cars either side of the road on the Levels are dangerous for pedestrians and passing vehicles. Emergency vehicles are attempting to attend through one way traffic as a result. Overflowing rubbish made worse by wildlife and seagulls just spreads more disease. Stop parking on the beachside and in Pett level itself. Walkers have to take children into the middle of the road to pass these badly parked vehicles and residents like ourselves have to put up with lines of cars parked up to our fences as there are no pavements.

  6. Well said Granville,of course it will not solve all of Ryes problems, as we are at the end of the line,being so close to the sea,but it would keep traffic moving along our coastline, instead of having to come through our town,clogging it up, its high time people realised,this is our only option,to an ever increasing problem,which will not go away,whatever the powers to be,have to say about it.

  7. I agree traffic is bad going down to camber, its a pity we cant bring back the camber tram, or something like it !!!!

  8. We are lucky enough to live next in a beautiful part of the south coast. The country has been dealing with a global pandemic and living in lock down, many with little access to outdoor spaces. Of course they are going to visit our wonderful beaches. The restrictions and requests that people don’t come clearly aren’t working so why don’t we try and find solutions that will help everyone share the area. Antisocial parking can be addressed by parking attendants. If cars were parked on an angle to the road this would accommodate more vehicles, land owners with fields next to the road could be asked to open them to traffic for a fee, bicycle parks could be installed. All of the UK festivals have been cancelled this Summer, there must be thousands of portable toilets available to hire. The food and drink stalls that would have been at festivals are standing idle, could we again open a field with an entrance and an exit. We would charge a fee for the market stalls and control the numbers going in and out. There are a lot of 16 – 18 year olds that aren’t at school at the moment can’t we employ them to be refuse/recycling teams. Building more roads encourages more traffic and closing the beaches isn’t a solution. Our hospitality industries are going to need support from a shortened tourist season so instead of putting unworkable restrictions in place let’s work out how we make it work.

  9. My family has visited camber all year round for generations and there’s no way you can think that you can close it to the outside world. How selfish. Both my mother and grandmother live in Rye and we have visited camber with my children both this week and last. How about getting tonnes more bins and paying people to spend all day emptying them (we collected a bag of rubbish as we left only to find the single bin in the car park overflowing) The car parks are full and paying £12 a car. Surely that could subserdise a wage or two. How about renting some of the surrounding fields and creating more car parks at £12 a car. A park and ride would be perfectly acceptable. Could be be from further out than rye. You could argue that rye and the costal towns are going to need all the visitors they can get after this pandemic. The revenue the visitors bring in shouldn’t be forgotten. Also Brian, we are not all lucky enough to live in houses with gardens or places with vast amounts of open space.

  10. Although Jen Sinclair is trying to prevent the chaos, she also make a curious statement “The local economy needs these visitors and we welcome them, usually, and in manageable numbers …”

    On Thursday, when Rye Hill was jam-packed, the air heavy with petrol fumes, music blaring from cars from people trying to get to Camber, I twice had to go to Rye High Street. You could almost hear a pin drop it was so quiet despite more businesses being open. So I fail to understand how all these visitors are helping the local economy apart from petrol stations and payment at a car park ? Visitors to the beaches aren’t coming to Rye, they aren’t spending money or time in Rye.

  11. The bypass was opposed by the business in Rye who feared every one driving past and Rye becoming a “ghost town” also they wanted to demolish 3 houses in winchelsea road instead of taking it past the end of the houses. the farmers were not to keen on losing land.

    Park and ride would be an idea but where? whos back yard? you would need a massive area.
    if you give a parking ticket to a car it will not get moved any sooner and the road is still blocked. i have enquired and the obstruction law is not straightforward eg you need proof of who parked last to cause the obstruction
    I don’t have an answer. I only know its got worse over 64 years. Possibly as people have less respect for others than we did have. I want to so I will.

  12. Anti-social parking on highway verges might be stopped in a fairly easy and inexpensive way: a series of cement bollards could be deployed. That should take care of the hazardous parking chaos at Winchelsea Beach / Pett Level area. No parking attendants required. As for opening fields for car parks, markets, food stalls, etc. etc. how about these ideas being put to local residents for a vote? Personally, I think it is an appalling notion. However. if residents of the area were inclined to support this sort of crowd-magnet activity, the local parish / council / planners etc. could then consider the legal and safety implications and any actual plan can be put back to residents for final approval. In the meantime, immediate action to stop the menace of chaotic, hazardous parking, wherever it takes place, should be eliminated immediately by whichever public body has the authority to take action. This is a straightforward matter of public safety, I would argue.

  13. Aren’t there miles and miles and miles of cement bollards stored in Kent that were wheeled out for several months last year on the M20 for Operation Brock in preparation for a disastrous exit from the EU. Presumably they’re in storage in Kent waiting for the end of this year when the EU (but not the UK) takes back control of its borders and could be put to use quickly this Summer. Can’t the Home Secretary release some of this hugely expensive and currently unused concrete PPE (Priti Patel’s England) kit?

  14. There’s an absolutely huge amount of land at Lydd basically unoccupied & owned by the ministry of defence.
    Instead of banging off hugely expensive ammunition, causing noise pollution & disturbing local people for miles with the sound of automatic weapon fire & the thud of heavy weapons why not open up the whole area for visitors & use the wasted space for parking & access to the beaches that are never used by the British public.
    The main traffic flow could access the area from the Ashford A2070 side with little coming through Rye.
    There would be no need for a bypass & the land could be developed for something more useful than the training of relatively small numbers of soldiers, for battle in wars fought in far away places, through years of ill conceived foreign policy.
    This whole area has seen hardly any development since WW2. Its ripe for ‘moving on’ & would benefit locals, holiday makers & business. Who’s not to gain ? The ministry of defence holds huge areas across this country
    of mostly unused land. Lets get some forward thinking people in control of this stagnating country.

  15. Forward thinking, i think not, why do people visit camber, for the vast area of sandy beaches, not a pebble beach further along the coast. Visitors have been going to Camber for years,and if Rother council had invested their gains in the village over the years I’m sure life could have been easier for all, now the horse has finally bolted, its time for action from both Rother Police, and the Council,who many say are the cause of this unrest and problem

  16. Turning a military training area back to public use is a massively expensive and time consuming task, the whole area would have to be swept for munitions, not an easy task and with public safety paramount it would be a long job.
    The only access as you say would be via the A2070 which would mean going through Lydd, it might ease some of the problem in Rye but would meet with a lot of opposition from there I’m sure.
    Given the choice between the sandy shore at Camber and the steep beach at Lydd which would you choose?

  17. Quite agree with you pearl you would have thought a park and ride could maybe be the answer, cars were parked in kings avenue then walked into camber ( crazy ) with all the revenue Rother gets from the camber car parks which must be thousands of pounds, rent or buy cooks fields this field backs onto kings avenue and new road the A 259 or any nearby fields to create a park and drive.
    Camber has been the same for at least the last 60 years or more , be even more used now as we seemed to have better weather conditions ( climate change) it’s not the solution this park and ride but surely it will ease some of the problems also this car park could used as a car park for shoppers and other events that happens in rye.

    Vv

  18. Park and ride has been offered in the past,and turned down for Rye,maybe a farmer with initiative, could take this a step forward, and ease the chaos,that we have seen recently in Rye and Camber.there is plenty of cash to be made, just needs somebody with vision,of the future needs to end this mayhem.

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