Planning grist to the mill

The rusting skeletal structure of Grist Mill

An amended planning application has recently been submitted by RX Architects, working on behalf of Martello Developments Ltd, to develop the Grist Mill site on Winchelsea Road. The application to redevelop the plot overlooking the River Brede would see the demolition of the shell of the old warehouse building and replaced with four 2 bedroom flats over two floors.

A previous planning application for the site for a commercial unit on the ground floor and accommodation on the first floor was approved by Rother District Council in 2019. The latest application will see the commercial unit replaced by two ground floor flats, but the building will also be slightly taller than the previous application.

A number of local residents submitted their objections to the scheme, the majority on the grounds that the proposed new building will be too tall. One objector said, “Winchelsea Road is a main entrance/exit route into Rye, and this building obscures the impressive view of Rye across the river, with the fisherman’s huts, ancient buildings, and the historic hilltop view of the town.”

Still “out of keeping”?

In December 2020, Rye Town Council also objected to the plans when the proposed building was to be 9.1m in height saying, “Overdevelopment (ridge height exceeds consent RR/2019/1779/P); loss of commercial space; out of keeping.”

Since then, and following these local objections, the height of the proposed building has been lowered by 300mm to around 8.8m in height (for comparison the current warehouse structure is 6.1m and the application that was approved in 2019 was to be 8.3m in height). Rye Town Council have yet to comment on RX’s latest revised plan.

The new planning application also includes some positive sustainable transport elements in that it will provide electric vehicle charging points for each flat as well as secure covered cycle storage for the residents.

You can view the plans, and make a comment, on Rother’s planning portal here.

Image Credits: Kevin McCarthy .


  1. Not before time,most people will be glad to see this eyesore on one of our main routes into town demolished, but the councils need to be very careful giving leeway to developers, who wish to build whats suits them, after the eyesore at Bridge point,which is not in keeping with the traditional buildings nearby at Strand quay.

  2. Just get rid of the old building and sort out what happens to the site later. All these processes take far too long.

  3. Pretty pictures showing how high it is with no sizes and no comparison to the other buildings on the same side of the road. Oh look electric charging points on a white elephant, for private not public use. A nice low level retail unit would be much better.

  4. Now that last comment is unfair!
    Rother planners and a planning inspector refused permission for unsuitable, too high, too bulky, purely residential developments. The planners then granted permission for a (still bulky and higher) development of two flats above commercial space. They did their job well, on behalf of and in the interests, of Rye.
    The latest application is an attempt to get a purely residential development that is too bulky and too high. It might look like the approved scheme but it is not the same. The commercial space at ground floor, hopefully with an interesting shop front would be inviting.
    Why doesn’t the developer get on with building the scheme for which planners granted permission a year or so ago.
    It is not the planners that are taking too long!!!!!!!

  5. Obviously Covid is a valid excuse for not developing these sites,but martello have sites at appledore,winchelsea beach,Camber, and several in Rye to develop, along with Plutus, it will be interesting to see which year they decide to develop these eyesores, and with prices in Rye rising more than other places, they are obviously not in a hurry to develop these sites.


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