Two years and nearly three months have passed since Rye’s last annual town meeting and, on Monday, June 13 Rye’s new mayor, Cllr Andi Rivett, had many people to thank for their work during the Covid-19 pandemic before local residents had their chance to raise their current questions and concerns – which mainly concerned cars and their owners.
Speeding was a major concern, and problems caused by the arrival of meters and traffic wardens in the town was another.
But “thanks” came first as the last town meeting was on March 4 2020, a few weeks before the first national lockdown began to tackle the pandemic, and there were many to thank for their efforts then – and since.
Homes open up
However the war in Ukraine is a more immediate crisis to which Rye is responding, and the mayor also thanked those who were responding now by opening up their homes to refugees.
Many other issues were also covered in the two hour long meeting, and councillors from Rother District Council and East Sussex County Council (see photo at top) were present to answer questions about developments which may, or may not, affect Rye’s neighbourhood plan; and what may or may not be built in the town such as, possibly, a new supermarket and more housing.
Udimore Road site row re-opens ?
And whether that housing will be housing for local people, or housing for visitors to Rye (including those with homes elsewhere), and whether that housing will include controversial sites such as the Udimore Road one where a petrol filling station’s intrusion into an area of outstanding natural beauty (AONB) was blocked remains to be seen.
The meeting after two years of Covid therefore covered many, many issues raised both by the mayor, Andi Rivett and other speakers, both from the platform and the floor, and this story can only skim across the surface this week – but more will be featured in coming weeks.
Rye’s response to Covid in the form of Rye Mutual Aid (RMA) was praised, and thanked, by the mayor, who also stressed that the heritage centre on Strand Quay (now run by a charity) was still very much “work in progress” and volunteers to help will be very welcome.
He also thanked Anthony Kimber for his work on the neighbourhood plan and, indeed, with RMA and the Ukrainian arrivals, and stressed the importance of the plan and “the protection from inappropriate development that it provides”.
He then went on to mention that the county council had promised a review of civil parking enforcement, which is yet to conclude, and may not address the concerns of residents – particularly those in Military Road.
He did however welcome the return of the historic George hotel on Rye’s High Street after the devastating fire there, and the restoration of the Rye Triptych and the recently completed restoration of the cupola (bell tower) on the historic Town Hall’s roof.
Historic Landgate “at risk”?
Possibly less welcome news is that Rye’s historic Landgate may be added to the Heritage at Risk register, though it may mean this would open up a range of funding opportunities – including grants from Historic England – after years of neglect.
And finally he thanked all those involved in the many Queen’s platinum jubilee events in Rye including Chris Emson, town crier Paul Goring and mayoress Cllr Rebekah Gilbert – whose two years as mayor had been totally disrupted by the Covid pandemic.
And next week’s Rye News will focus on more of the issues that need to be addressed now that Covid is apparently over.
Image Credits: Heidi Foster , Chris Lawson .