Rye Town Council has approved a loading bay to be situated in Rye High Street outside The George Hotel. The primary purpose of this is to alleviate the constant traffic problems caused by delivery vehicles for the hotel illegally parking in the lower part of Lion Street.
As a result of this parking, other vehicles, frequently including large lorries, have been forced to drive down the pavement, often extremely close to buildings and putting pedestrians at considerable risk, in the heart of Rye’s most popular tourist area. Local residents and business owners have reported many instances of near misses between vehicles and people, sometimes including families with small children. The problem is said to have become particularly serious during the summer months at the height of the tourist season when at times there were up to four or five vehicles parking simultaneously in the street to deliver to the hotel. Incidents reported to councillors and the police included the front of a shop being damaged several times, and an elderly resident who was unable to return to her front door for more than 20 minutes after as a large lorry became stuck across the front of her property. The lorry was trying to pass other parked vehicles.
Rye councillors have acknowledged that the principal cause of these problems has been the closing off of the previous goods vehicle access for the hotel in the High Street and its replacement with a new restaurant. Despite this, the Lion Street entrance at the side of the hotel has never officially been designated as a loading or unloading area, but is often used as such in the early morning until early afternoon and sometimes until after midnight.
Members of the town council planning committee were keen to find a solution and asked the Highways Forum (which includes members from various groups in the town, such as the Chamber of Commerce as well as councillors and an official from the county highways authority) to put together a series of recommendations for the siting and operation of a proposed loading bay designated for goods vehicles only and also the community bus service. These proposals were accepted by the full town council and were passed to the county council for statutory public consultation until February 7. No date has been given yet for work on the loading bay to start.