Rother District Council (RDC) has approved the location of the reinstated riverside walkway along the River Brede at Bridge Point, Rock Channel. As Rye News has previously reported, the developer, Hastings Redevelopment Ltd, had put in an application to move the current walkway from the top of the flood defences to closer to the river. The path would then run alongside the proposed moorings the developers were reintroducing for the five new houses currently under construction.
The decision by RDC to approve moving the path goes against the wishes of Rye Town Council, who had recommended refusal on the grounds that a public path nearer the river would be susceptible to flooding.
The Environment Agency (EA) refused point blank to allow a path to run along the top of the flood bank because they wanted to ensure they have access to it at all times to inspect the flood defences. The current path is a right of way, therefore the developer’s proposal is for the riverside walkway to be repositioned on the ‘berm’ at the base of the embankment adjacent to the river.
RDC claims to have no other option but approve the move but commented: “It would be more vulnerable to flooding in the future. However, this is the only position that the EA will accept having regard to its responsibility to maintain an effective flood defence.”
The access to the path is currently in a pathetic state of repair and closed off at one end. The developer is leasing the sliver of land between their new development and the river from the EA for 50 years and will be installing a three-metre wide path in resin bonded gravel.
The new path, when complete, will also give access to the moorings along the river and it is hoped that in future the path will extend right around Rock Channel. We should expect to see this section of the path completed soon because as part of the planning decision, the houses cannot be occupied until the walkway has been completed.