Landgate work ‘non-essential’


There has been much concern voiced lately about the state of the Landgate. Rye Conservation Society contacted Rother District Council back in November 2011 to request access, following concern expressed by a member whose property adjoins the arch about pigeon infestation. RDC said access by the conservation society was dependent on the building “being cleaned of all existing pigeon excrement for Health & Safety reasons”, and a clean would not take place until early 2012.

The society contacted RDC again in July 2012 and again in February 2013, requesting an update. This time its reply cited significant cuts both to the management structure of the amenities department and to funding. This “has affected our ability to respond to what is classed as non-essential work. It is likely that any significant works to the Landgate Arch would have to be supported by external funding sources”. We contacted RDC again in July 2013 but heard nothing further.

As well as being an ancient monument, the Landgate is also a Grade I listed building and therefore has the same degree of protection as the De la Warr Pavilion [Bexhill] and should be maintained to the same standard. Where it differs significantly from other Grade I listed structures is that it spans a public highway. It forms the iconic and only entrance to the centre of Rye. How can residents and visitors to Rye be assured that the structure and fabric of the Landgate are safe?

Failure to maintain a historic asset sends out entirely the wrong signal to the other owners of the almost 400 listed buildings in our town, properties that Rother’s own planning department are diligent in preserving. The conservation society has asked English Heritage to consider placing the Landgate on its Heritage at Risk register. Watch this space!

Judith O’Connor
Rye Conservation Society

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