Rye has the history of an island, once surrounded by sea-water. Even today, it looks out on marshland on three sides, with an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) as hinterland. This has been jealously guarded by the planners, who have always resisted encroachment beyond the town’s existing boundaries. This policy has encouraged new building on infill sites within the existing built up area, and discouraged what is known as ‘urban sprawl’.
Increasing demand for new housing has seen this policy breached with the recent development at Valley Park, but to some extent this has been absorbed satisfactorily into the landscape, and has succeeded in providing new homes.
Now, however, an application has been submitted to Rother District Council for a 4-pump filling station at the top of Udimore Road. The facility covers some 790 sq metres, apparently open 24/7 with 5-metre- high lighting poles and a 1.8 metre fence around the site.
Whilst many would accept that Rye needs another filling station following the closure of the one on Winchelsea Road a few years back, there must be cause for concern at this intrusion of an industrial complex in this environmentally sensitive location.
The site is outside the proposed development in the emerging Neighbourhood Plan. High on the Udimore ridge on the edge of the AONB, it is visible from 270o around the site. Night-time illumination will be light pollution at an unacceptable level.
The planning process makes it possible for the community to have its say. If you feel strongly about this proposal, for or against, make your voice heard by visiting the Council’s website and entering the reference number: RR/2017/1231/P if required.