Petrol station plans panned

As planned, the filling station would probably be similar to this one

Proposals to build a new petrol station at the top of Udimore Road have been critically reviewed by the Rye Conservation Society.  In a letter to the Rother DC Senior Planning Officer dated July 16, Julian Luckett, chairman of the Society’s planning committee gives a detailed explanation of the reasons why the planning application should be rejected.

These take into account the proposed location, its site and setting, the design of building and the implications for traffic flows up and down Udimore Road. The proposals include a four-pump filling station, a retail shop and 28 parking spaces, and the area is to be surrounded by 1.8-metre (6ft) fencing and illuminated by 5- and 6-metre (16ft and 20ft) lighting poles. It is apparently planned to operate on a 24/7 basis.

The setting is outside both the current development boundary and that proposed in the emerging Neighbourhood Plan. The Society argues that it does not meet the Rother Core Strategy Policy (OSS2 iii). It is located on the Udimore ridge closely surrounded on three sides by the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). So exposed is it that the site can be seen from far around.

Objection is also taken to the design of the building with its canopy 5 metres (16ft) above road level. “As a gateway building announcing the entrance to Rye from the west, this development is inadequate and unacceptable” says the Society and “the 24/7 operation of the proposed filling station/shop will inevitably result in an increased use of Udimore Road throughout the day and night which will mean a loss of amenity for the residents of Udimore Road”.

A detailed study has been made of relevant RDC planning policies, leading to the conclusion: “The Society would welcome another filling station in the town but this is not the place. If we had to choose a location that would do the maximum damage to the setting of Rye and to the AONB this would be it.”

The application (RR/2017/1231/P) can be viewed on the Council’s website  and comments made online or by email to or in writing to the Service Manager Strategy and Planning, Town Hall, Bexhill TN39 3JX during the period of 21 days beginning with the date of the notice July 21, 2017.


Kenneth Bird is a vice-president of the Rye Conservation Society


  1. I strongly agree with Rye Conservation Society’s objection to this application, but would go further still: why are we needing another fossil fuel filling station at all? There are currently just under 8,500 petrol stations in the UK, with the number reducing by about 100 per year. With the expected rise in the electric fleet of vehicles (see Kevin Mc Carthy’s excellent article last week), the number is expected to drop to 6,000 by 2035. So what’s the justification, BP? You’re living behind the times.
    A much better idea would be for RDC and ESCC, when they are looking at parking reforms, to incorporate electric charging points for both on and off street parking. For ideas see
    Sadly, I don’t trust our councillors to be able to box their way out of a paper bag. Cllr Paul Osbourne suggested last week that RDC has only just STARTED the process, this after more than FIVE years without a traffic warden in Rye and the ensuing lawless free for all. To give Paul credit, even though he is not representing Rye (Cllrs Lord Ampthill and Stevens do), at least he is making comment.
    Hilariously, Dr Anthony Leonard of RDC states in his report to the Overview and Scrutiny Committee that ‘if there is no progress on CPE the public MAY BECOME frustrated by the lack of enforcement… To minimise the risks good communication will be essential.’ What planet has he been living on over the last five years?

  2. Rye already has less costly petrol available for those willing to drive to Peasmarsh so, as BP’s filling stations are usually at the upper end of the price scale, ‘cheaper petrol’ would be a pretty weak justification for slapping yet another hideous building on one of the area’s vanishing green fields.

    As for ‘public demand’ for a garage open day and night, I wonder. Shell closes its Brenzett garage, on a far busier road, at 10, while BP’s own site in New Romney does the same. So where are these nocturnal customers going to come from?

    In fact the case for this development seems so shaky that one wonders if there isn’t a longer and more covert game being played – one involving a lot more development at a later stage, perhaps. Paranoia? Ask the residents of Tenterden watching Tesco’s gamble paying off as ‘four fields’ disappear under breeze block and tarmac. Big money can be very patient.

    Meanwhile, for collectors of irony, a little further up Udimore Road the site of the former Udimore garage (no longer even a junk shop) has recently been bulldozed. If only they had held on for a few decades more…

  3. OK, so install charging points for electric cars all over the country means building more reliable electricity generating stations, using coal, oil or nuclear energy to power them. Unfortunately wind power is unreliable; because there are days without wind. The same applies to tidal power generating, because this method also suffers with a no power generating time at the ebb point of the tide. Solar power is also subject to the amount of available light to produce power, because they do not produce much power during the hours of darkness. Unfortunately electric cars need time to power up, so all the town and city streets will need power points, like parking meters to cope with the on road parked cars at each departure an arrival point that each car makes.

    So without massive investment in generating power, street power points, the reduction of the vehicles cost etc, the electric car for the average person is not practical for years to come. Finally, how many days would it take to drive the car from say London to Scotland! because it was necessary to make stops to charge the car along the way? How long will the battery last before needing a replacement? Could pre-charged batteries be available at service stations? there is a long way still to go before fossil fuelled cars are off the road.

  4. Why does Rye need another fuel station? The closure of the Quayside Garage has had a little effect, it would appear. I can’t see how there would be enough trade to justify the position of the proposed site being on a B road.

    Costcutters is a sufficient facility although expensive, we don’t need this and surprised a business plan would show a profit.

  5. Seems a ridiculous place to put a petrol station to me: on a B road, opposite one of the finest views our visitors can have approaching Rye, and that will increase traffic flow on the terrible stretch of road that has become a slalom into the town. Surely anyone could see from a commercial and aesthetic view the desolate site of the old garage on the approach to Rye from Winchelsea is the place: this road is a disgrace and appears to be abandoned by planners and the town with handmade car wash signs, cheap car sales and a variety of buildings in disrepair – could be made a splendid site with a bit of architectural nous – combined housing and maybe a small supermarket? Maybe a couple of petrol pumps although I don’t really see a need for them as if you have a car you can drive to Jempsons (the only thing they do well is sell petrol).

  6. We do not need another petrol station in Rye.’ Our beautiful village
    of Udimore already suffers huge lorries and endless traffic through our village every day. This is an area of outstanding natural beauty and must not be ruined by an horrendously ugly petrol station. Rye is a beautiful unspoiled town and nothing should change that.

  7. I suspect this application is all about the retail unit attached. It even admits as such, noting the petrol pumps alone would not make profit. 28 parking spaces + bike racks (!) Makes it far bigger than the average mini- mart.

  8. Fishy !! I should say so , this is the old spratt to catch a mackerel trick which has been used for ages often with success to manipulate the planning system & anyone with any planning experience should see this one coming. The existing Valley Park consents are maxed out , but should you apply in the beginning for something so outrageous which would be refused then a subsequent lesser application for a few houses say would be seen ‘not s o bad’ & might get through ..Of course its obvious that a filling station on a B road is a bad business plan & that why the planning application is loaded with glaring errors & inaccurate statements , probably prepared by a junior & I doubt BP themselves have actually paid for it ..Now heaven forbid that this application is passed then the land owner (or whom ever has ‘the option to buy) has only to say well on reflection this business is not viable but they do have a ‘brown field site” build what you like ‘! Perhaps Rye’s RDC councillors ; David Amptill & sGennette Stevens could use their powers to obtain from the RDC planning officers full details of all dealings with regar’d to this site & report at the next full Rye Town Council Meeting ..


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