Working to conserve and improve

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John Griffiths addressing the AGM

The role of the Rye Conservation Society was set out by John Griffiths last Friday April 21, when he chaired its annual general meeting in the Town Hall. Its purpose is not “just to keep the citadel unspoiled” as some supposed, he said. “There is a wider concern for the appearance of the town as seen from the Marsh, and in seeking to improve the quality of life for all residents and visitors to Rye”.

Each committee member, charged with a specific responsibility, explained their remit in turn. Julian Luckett said that his planning sub-committee had reviewed and commented upon 77 planning applications during the past year. In very few of these had Rother District Council, as the local planning authority, ruled contrary to the Society’s recommendations. Sometimes schemes had been passed where material design information had been omitted from the application.

Wayne Jones welcomed the appointment of Dan Bevan, previously a popular police community support officer in the district, as a Rother planning enforcement officer. This made the task of planning liaison more pleasant and effective. He noted the proliferation of banners and posters round the town which detracted from the streetscape and regretted that some property owners acted without concern for others.

Andrew Bamji noted that little improvement in the general parking situation could be expected until decriminalisation is introduced, allowing civil enforcement. He urged people to report dangerous footpath conditions in the town direct to East Sussex County Council, the highway authority.

With the re-election of existing officers and committee, the chairman announced the appointment of three new co-opted members to further strengthen the team: John Spencer, Michael Jones and Allan Thomson.

There are still some seats available on the coach for the outing to Brighton on May 31 and a visit to Tunbridge Wells is planned for late September. The immediate social event however was the matter of luncheon at the Mermaid, where sixty or more members enjoyed convivial entertainment and a goodly repast.

Photo: Kenneth Bird

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