Appalling pavements, recent falls

Pavement on Mermaid Street

On Friday, July 2 a fifth person fell on one of the pavements in the town in the last six months. This time it was just outside the bread shop in the High Street. Luckily there were no broken bones but there was a lot of blood from a cut lip along with a bruised head. An ambulance was called but unfortunately they were unable to come. As usual in these cases, passers by were wonderful and eager to help as did the shop staff. The woman was safely taken home but really should have been looked at by a paramedic. It was suggested that they phone Rye Medical Centre and ask for a nurse to come to the home to make sure there was no concussion.

Four friends of this reporter have had falls. One opposite the jewellery shop, Simon Milne Ltd, on the High Street. She was looked after by the owner and had to wait five hours for an ambulance. She had three breaks in her right shoulder and several operations. Two friends fell in Cinque Ports street on the pavement near the charity shops. Again no bones broken but a lot of bruises. After falling on the pavement in Mermaid Street, which is very narrow and has greenery growing along some of the houses, another person needed 10 stitches in the leg.

How long does Rye have to put up with these uneven pavements, loose slabs and overhanging vegetation? Does it have to be a fatal accident, or a person falling into the path of a car before something is done? It is clear that Rye Town Council has little power over the streets and pavements. However, it is their town to look after and it would be not beyond the councillors’ remit to discuss a strategy and contact the relevant department, East Sussex County Council (ESCC), to do something about the worsening condition of most pavements in the town, with overlapping and loose stones.

The pictures show just part of the problem, there are loose slabs too. It might be useful to walk around the town. And what was so special about West Street which has now lovely new slabs to walk over, yet it was not as bad as Mermaid street?

ESCC, surely must realize that it might be cheaper to mend where necessary than spend when sued.

Image Credits: Heidi Foster .


  1. When rare repairs are carried out, a broken slab is never repaired with another slab. The repair will be concrete or tarmac. The entire dangerous pavement system of Rye is a hotchpotch of broken slabs, concrete and tarmac.

  2. This has been a problem for many years but nothing ever gets done. My husband tripped over some time back (long before covid) breaking his glasses and cutting his face. Since then we have avoided visiting Rye unless absolutely necessary. As there are no longer any banks our visits are pretty rare which is a great shame as we often used the restaurants and cafes and bought from many of the shops. Although Rye is nearer we now go to Tenterden and I’m sure there must be others who avoid the town for this reason.

  3. Actually, the figure should be 6. My wife tripped over a manhole cover in Cinque Ports St. on the corner by the hairdresser and the motel leading to the sheep market. She broke her little finger and was helped by two gentlemen who happened to be near. The accident was recorded the next day at Conquest A & E where the break was diagnosed.

  4. Thank you Heidi,
    It is a real problem and others I know prefer Tenterden. Also Tony is right about replacements; real stone and granite are obviously more expensive than tarmac, but the gradual degradation of Rye’s townscape is a shame. One anecdote about non-appearing ambulances was my wife’s bad fall outside the station. The 999 operator wanted to know how to spell Rye and then wanted to know which station in Rye I was at, including post code, as though we have several stations!
    I gave up, fetched the car and drove her the A & E.

  5. Thank you everybody who is supporting this problem and I need to think now how to get to or shame ESCC.
    If anyone wants to see a lovely repair which obviously was not too expensive for them to do, go to west street leading from Mermaid street to High Street. Lovely new slabs and very even all the way.
    One might ask, why that street? Heidi

    • …because someone in that street fought hard and persistently, the fact that the high street has been left unrepaired because of the fire at the George is an equal disgrace. I suggested the maintenance could be done up to The George and continue after the building – which, incidentally, has cobbles, not tarmac in front of the building. Highways told me this was not possible… WHY? Poor Rye losing out again while all around roads and pavement are attended to.

  6. Time for the high street and Citadel to be pedesrainised between 9 till 4pm.with the increased footfall to our town,this is the only safe way forward, too many cars are not only ruining our pavements, but are making life difficult for locals and citizens alike.Of course the people who live in that area will be in denial,but it will happen eventully, that is sadly the price they will have to pay,for living in streets that were never made for he amount of traffic that uses them now.

    • I agree whole heartedly and I live down The Mint. The cobbled streets are all pedestrian zones which means cars can have access but can’t park and pedestrians have right of way. Strangely many shop owners feel that their businesses would suffer as a result as there would be less footfall to Rye. This of course is nonsense as there are only about 25 – 30 car park spaces along the High Street and most of those are still occupied by residents and shop keepers. I also think there should be a speed limit of 10mph as cars fly down The Mint despite the fact that there are less than 2 ft of pavement in some areas and often there are many pedestrians, buggies and wheelchairs which cannot even get onto the pavements in some parts due to to sheer numbers of people.
      It would be so nice to enable the cafes to have more outside pavement tables during the day. How would that have a negative impact on our town?

    • Between 10 and 4. Leave an hour for shops that open at 9 to receive deliveries, for people to collect bulky items etc.etc.

      • There was a time in Rye when all deliveries had to be done by a certain time in the morning, other towns do have a no delivery policy between certain hours.

    • I agree Rye was never made for this amount of traffic, I live in Tower Street and anybody would think it’s the national speed limit 60 and more! Why do people think it’s acceptable to do speeds of this and above, and it’s locals that do it! Speed humps please ! If an elderly person animal or child was crossing the road they wouldn’t stand a chance. First thing in the morning and at night. There is No need for this sort of speed …….

  7. As a corollary to John’s pedestrianisation suggestion, taking people safely off the crowded pavements would ease congestion and assist social distancing as the pandemic continues.

  8. West Street ‘enjoyed’ hideous new concrete slabs a couple of years ago, and possibly a quarter of which are now cracked or lifted. I think Mermaid Street, thanks to its extremely narrow pavement, was lucky to escape such a pointless and ugly intervention.

  9. The corollary of pedestrianising the High Street seems to be back (yet again). Deliveries to shops on and off the High Street (virtually all of which have no rear access) can be made early in the morning so that the High Street can then be closed to traffic. No problem! Except there is, in fact a massive one. Logistics companies (please note not the ultimate suppliers of High Street businesses) will simply not adhere to such a schedule. The goods they are delivering may have started their day in Manchester or Leeds etc. not two miles down the road! It is impossible for small business in a small town like Rye to compel them to change their regime, they have far more clout and their attitude is “take it or leave it”. Likewise, their supplier customers have little to no influence over their operations. So, by all means pedestrianise the High Street but be prepared for empty shelves!!

  10. Why not have a hub, Rye likes hubs, a unit in the harbour road that traders have delivery’s to, it might work and logistic drivers would love it.
    As for empty shelves, how many shops in high street sell essentials?
    It’s basically a tourist trap with tourist shops, how do the likes of St Ives in Cornwall and even the Lanes in Brighton manage, there’s no vehicular access there as is the case in many towns, Rye is far from unique with its problems but they’re not insurmountable but it might mean the traders making a bit of an effort.

  11. 1. You would still have to get the goods from the hub to the shops in the High Street, so the same problem still exists. Such a scheme also requires shop owners to have the requisite resources (early or late labour plus transport). And who would pay for the hub? If it is the shop owners, can they pass this cost on to their customers I wonder.
    2. It doesn’t matter what the shops sell, they still have to take deliveries, so again the same problem still exists.
    3. Of course Rye is a “tourist trap” it’s the mainstay of the local economy!
    4. Are all deliveries in St Ives and Brighton made in the dead of night then? Perhaps they have rear access, I don’t know. What I do know is that shops in Rye High Street don’t by and large and this is the very heart of the problem.
    5. Rye’s traders already make lots of effort. It’s bad enough as it is dealing with recalcitrant logistics companies who are warned about restricted access and drop of areas only for them to completely ignore you. To then add hubs and curfews to these problems is ridiculous (and selfish).


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