At a private meeting on Friday June 26, Rye Partnership and the architects presented their latest proposed plans for a new Tilling Green community centre to those who currently hire and use the centre. The meeting was called to gauge our reaction prior to a public presentation. The revised plan now contains 32 houses and flats, an increase of two dwellings on the earlier version. The arrangement of the houses is well thought out and includes a small central green space.
But the problem with the design, as I see it, is with a proposed four-storey block of flats: the upper stories of the flats will overlook nearby houses and could well generate a breach of privacy. The revised design is horseshoe-shaped with three levels of living space and ground floor garages/ storage. The raising of the ground floor living space by about 3metres is to meet current flood plain legislation.
The greatest part of the debate at the meeting centred on Rye town’s new single-storey community centre design, which at 450sq metres is 276sq metres smaller than the existing centre: a very sizeable reduction. My research into the small sizes of some of the divided rooms for hire means that group numbers will be governed by room size, and small group numbers will be financially unviable. I feel that the size of the centre has been sacrificed to accommodate the extra two dwellings. The new hall is planned to cater for around 100 people, far too small to meet current needs and to accommodate paying events. Parking provision has been increased from 5 to 17 cars, which is very small compared, say, with St Mary’s Bay Village Hall that has 33 spaces for vehicles.
What seems to have been overlooked is that this new community centre is being designed to meet the needs of a town – not a village like St Mary’s.
The position of the proposed new centre has now been moved to the Udimore Road end of the site – an earlier drawing showed it on the existing community centre site. This change of position will meet with the approval of Cllr Keith Glazier who wishes the new centre to be built before the old is demolished. This is on the grounds that no other suitable accommodation is available to the residents of Tilling Green, Valley Park, the town and outlying locality, who currently use the centre.
Tilling Green resident
Photo: John Wylie, who is also chairman of the Camera 1066 Club