Watch this space

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The Mayor addresses the meeting

The town met this Wednesday (March 1) and went home early after an evening with few fireworks, little new information, many old, familiar faces and the frequent message “Watch this space – work in progress”.

Rye’s annual Town Meeting, at which the Town Council reports back on the past year’s events, was held in the Tilling Green Community Centre (TGCC), a former school which was showing its age and failed to be replaced when a linked housing development was abandoned.

Many issues were raised at Wednesday’s meeting, but the answer in most cases – as with the future of the community centre itself – was “watch this space”.

The Mayor Cllr Jonathan Breeds gave a long report on the council’s activities, but the most frequent un-elected speaker was Anthony Kimber, vice-chair of the Steering Group for the town’s  Neighbourhood Plan.

A town referendum may be held later this year on the plan, once it is complete and after everybody, who needs to be consulted, has  been, and many questions on Wednesday were about planning issues.

Keith Glazier

Parking was another frequent issue as East Sussex County Council (ESCC) is in the lead on plans for the civil enforcement of parking by traffic wardens.

Local County Cllr Keith Glazier (pictured right), who leads ESCC and faces re-election in May, said this was underway in discussions with Rother District Council (RDC) but it involved a lot of detail and would not happen quickly.

RDC local councillor Lord Ampthill said the multiple drownings at Camber had taken up much of that council’s time, but it was discussing with National Heritage how the town’s medieval Landgate might be saved from crumbling away.

Persistent problems, like seagulls, also got aired , but the jury was still out on whether Rother’s seagull proof bin bags in the historic parts of the town were any use.

Homes, alongside the Queen Adelaide, empty for many years

Plans for more housing (possibly seven or more homes) on the Valley Park estate off Udimore Road were opposed at the meeting, particularly as at each stage of the development more homes seemed to be crammed in with various variations to the original planning permission.

Questions were asked about a number of other developments including housing on the Lower School site off Ferry Road by the Queen Adelaide public house.

A number of houses (pictured left) alongside the pub have been left empty since two major supermarkets fought over, and then walked away from, developing the Lower School site, and former Mayor Cllr Bernardine Fiddemore said she would investigate these neglected homes.

As home deliveries by national supermarket chains, based on internet orders, continue to grow, the meeting was told that it seemed unlikely another supermarket will come to the town.

Tilling Green Community Centre –

Cllr Glazier said the county council faced continuing cuts in central government funding over the next few years and needed to get the best value for the Tilling Green Community Centre site which it owned. The former school was probably past its sell-by date , he felt, but he was open to any proposals.

A Community Interest Company (CIC) was set up last year to run the new centre if the housing plans had gone ahead. Currently it is being run by the Rye Partnership.

Various speakers raised the issue of thoughtless and selfish parking where individuals had bought or rented homes , or other premises including shops, without parking spaces or garages, but then expected to be able to park outside regardless of the effect on others and whatever problems it caused.

Anthony Kimber

And this will be an issue the county and district councils will be addressing as they look at future parking plans – so watch this space. The Mayor said the issue of speed limits around town was being looked at by the town’s Highways Forum. However these are often the responsibility of either the government body, Highways England, or the county council, or both – so watch this space !

After a number of possible new developments were queried Anthony Kimber (left) pointed out that the RDC had introduced a new systems of petitions on controversial issues (like more housing in Valley Park) so they could be taken up directly with Rother’s Planning Committee.

“This is a new opportunity”, he said, so watch RDC’s website for proposals affecting you. However the town’s Planning Committee told a senior Rother planning officer on Monday that the website needed improvement and there needed to be better dialogue between the RDC and the town council on planning applications.

Photos: Ray Prewer and Rye News library

Image Credits: Rye News library , John Minter .

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