Planning can pose problems

2019 Conservation Society report

Planning proposals get opposed for a variety of reasons ranging from “too bright lights” to around 2,000 dumper trucks going through town, and the actual siting of new parking machines in historic streets – but Rye Conservation Society is always on watch.

The 47th AGM of Rye Conservation Society took place at the Mermaid Inn last Friday May 17. Chairman David Bookless opened proceedings by remarking: “No elections today!” referring to last year’s somewhat acrimonious meeting. Since then, various changes to the Constitution had been made and approved to clarify membership rights.

The chairman thanked the whole committee for their work during the year. He singled out Julian Luckett for his leadership of the planning sub-committee, and also for producing the annual report.

Julian Luckett then amplified his report on planning issues: “Most of the applications we consider result in changes that members will never see or, because of their scale, will not notice. We object to very few applications. Where we have no comment, we almost always qualify our submission by making it subject to neighbours’ views.”

BP got blocked

Referring to the Society’s involvement with some particular concerns, he continued:
“Following a successful campaign and appeal refusal, you will not see the BP filling station and mini-supermarket on Udimore Road. You definitely will see the new covered tennis courts along Military Road when and if they go ahead.

The entrance to the Lower School site behind the Queen Adelaide pub in Ferry Road

“The former Thomas Peacocke school site is now the subject of a revised application for 65 dwellings. We have objected to the scheme on a number of grounds, including the total loss of tree belt along the railway line, the density of the development and the lack of any consideration of biodiversity on the site. One aspect of this development will be construction traffic that is likely to result from the method the developer has chosen to overcome the problem of the flood zone.

2,000 dumper trucks

“You can get over this by designing all the living accommodation at first-floor level and above, which is the method adopted at Bridge point and Winchelsea Road West; or you can raise the ground level of the whole site to just above the projected flood level. This is the method being proposed for the Plutus development at Thomas Peacocke. We estimate that around 2,000 dumper truck journeys to and from the site will be needed to bring in the necessary fill. This in itself is not a matter for refusal. The completion of the project will have to wait for the upgrade of the main sewer which Southern Water has indicated may take up to two years from the start of the project.”

The Granary Club, formerly known as the Oasis

Julian Luckett then referred to other matters upon which his committee has made planning submissions, such as the warehouse at 48 Ferry Road, formerly the Granary/Oasis nightclub; and also Rye College’s planning application for a fully illuminated artificial football pitch with six 50ft-high poles for floodlights, surrounded by an 8m screen fence. “We have objected on the grounds that it will impact on the amenity of houses in Tillingham Avenue, on the setting of Rye when seen from the countryside and from the town itself,” he said.

Pay and display

“One place where members will certainly see a change is on the High Street and in the Citadel when pay and display machines are installed as part of the introduction of Civil Parking. We understand that there will be 16 machines similar to those recently installed in Eastbourne, Lewes and under way in Hastings, located against various buildings, mostly listed, around the centre of Rye. As East Sussex has permitted development rights, planning consent will not be required. However the Society, with Allan Thomson as lead, hopes to liaise with East Sussex and Rother’s conservation officer to reduce the practical and visual impact of their installation.”

Turning finally to the planning application for the redevelopment of the old Bournes’ site at Rock Channel, Julian Luckett described the current proposals for re-using the structure of the old warehouses to provide artists’ workshops, studios, galleries, an art library and large multi-use rehearsal space. The development would include five riverside houses and three mews houses together with a new riverside restaurant/cafe and holiday flat. He gave his personal view that Rye is lucky to be the recipient of this imaginative development.

Concluding his report, Julian Luckett commented: “Planning can be black or white or sometimes it’s a question of balance, and it must be remembered that the balance is tilted in favour of sustainable development. That means (if you wish to object) you have to prove that any proposed development goes against accepted policy or does not meet established design criteria. We put our comments on the various applications on the Society’s website. If you disagree with them, please let us know. We act on your behalf and all your views are welcome.”

The chairman welcomed Rae Festing back onto the planning committee, and thanked Andrew Bamji who was standing down after five years service on the committee. Following the meeting, members adjourned to a well-presented and appetising luncheon in the Tudor Room of the Mermaid.

The next social event will be the Annual Garden Party to be held on Sunday June 30 2:30-5pm at Little Orchard House, 3 West Street, Rye TN31 7ES.

Image Credits: Julian Luckett , Kenneth Bird .


  1. So it seems Rye conservation society has know problems with the tennis court expansion scheme with the large building and associated lighting, but when it comes to a 3g football pitch for the younger generation of this town they object, saying it will be visual and have an impact on the countryside, so the tennis Court gets the nod, some cynics may say money talks in this town,and I must agree, Julien Lockett talks about balance,that should include all, not just the privileged rich of our town, but the youngsters who are the future of our town

  2. John Tolhurst is not correct in implying that Rye Conservation Society has not objected to the application to build three covered tennis courts at Rye Tennis Club.
    We made our strong objections to this proposal clear in our letters of objection dated 03.03.17 and 24.05.18. The provision of an industrial-sized building, bigger than the Skinner’s building on Rye Harbour Road, outside of the Rye Development boundary and located at the edge of the landscape of Rye is clearly objectionable, a view also taken by the officers at Rother’s planning department.
    What was meant to be ironic in the context of the refusal of the BP filling station on the grounds of its effect on the surrounding landscape of Rye has clearly not been appreciated. I should just have said ‘Sadly you will see this’. as we all will.
    Julian Luckett
    Chairman Planning Committee
    Rye Conservation Society.


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