Traffic rocks council support

The new development of five houses now completed at Rock Channel

Comprehensive plans for Rye’s Rock Channel area, including an arts centre and riverside housing, received lukewarm support at the Rye Town Council meeting on Tuesday May 28.

A special meeting had been called to discuss the planning application and, after a lengthy debate, a motion to oppose the plan was defeated by only a couple of votes; and a motion to give limited support to the plan was then carried by only a couple of votes.

Councillors’ concerns focused on a number of issues including flood risk and the sewerage infrastructure, but in particular on the potential problems caused by traffic and parking.

Much emphasis had been placed in a PR offensive by the developers and architects on visitors to the arts centre using Gibbet Marsh car park.

This however is currently subject to flooding and had to be closed last Bonfire Night, and a planning application for a bridge over the River Tillingham linked to a footpath under the railway from Gibbet Marsh was recently withdrawn.

In the absence of parking controls, motorists tend to park wherever they can closest to their destination, and councillors were concerned about South Undercliff (the A259 and the main road through Rye) grinding to a halt when the arts centre staged events.

Concern was also expressed about the impact of the proposed centre on existing venues such as the Milligan Theatre in Love Lane and Rye Community Centre in Conduit Hill amongst others.

Frequent references were made at the council meeting to Rye’s Neighbourhood Plan and Policy H4 on pages 27-29 of the Final Version dated May 10, 2019.

The plan is up for approval in a referendum of Rye residents on Thursday, June 27.

The first houses built in this area (see top picture) have been priced at over a million pounds each, and the other riverside houses proposed are likely to be similarly priced.

Parking however remained the major concern of the councillors, and the road that runs through the site does serve a number of other homes and businesses. However the main concern was about South Undercliff “becoming impassable” and councillors clearly expected more work to be done by the developers on parking and traffic issues.

Indeed with the introduction of civil parking enforcement (CPE) in the near future, the developers need to be talking to the county, district and town councils as well as, possibly, the Highways Authority because of the “A” road.

Image Credits: John Minter .


  1. I hope the problems are ironed out because the arts facilities being offered are superb and would be a major enhancement to Rye especially a performance venue. It also seems that an outside space with sculptures and a cafe would provide so much to enjoy.

  2. This is just an over-priced housing project with some community window dressing to help achieve planning permission. If they were serious about the community side of the project, parking would be found. Another 90 cover cafe as well taking people away from the main streets of the town where existing traders need support not more competition.

  3. One must agree with some members of our council, on the impact on illegal parking once this development is completed, how many people will want to walk from Gibbetts marsh,on a wet and windy day, as for the blue badge holders,where some think it’s their right to park anywhere, it’s going to cause huge problems in that area, if the current rumour is true, that the developers are eying to purchase the adjacent haulage business yard, then this area would solve this parking problem, and to offset the costs buying this site,I’m sure working with Rdc,or a housing association, to accomodate a limited amount of social houses, then both parking, and local residents, would benefit in solving,what looks like a tricky problem, for the developers.

  4. How about sighting the arts centre at Tilling Green; adequate disabled car parking could be planned and Gibbetts Marsh car park is a shorter walk away. Finally use the haulage yard for building more houses. This would solve the centrers ‘visitor traffic’ parking problem.


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