The appointment of Nicky Ledger as Rye Town Steward is an event of almost “historic” significance. Rye Town Council has taken a step that could have important ramifications for the future. The Town Council has grasped the initiative to solve a local problem. It makes absolute sense that a local person equipped with the essential tools is used to tackle most of the small maintenance jobs that are needed in and around Rye. In the past, if the county needed to repair a broken paving slab in Rye then two men and a van had to be sent from as far away as Eastbourne. The county presumably has done the sums and decided this local solution could be cost effective and more efficient and this is why it is contributing half the setting up costs.
If mending pavements and pot holes is done more efficiently by local teams and both the district and county councils can actually save money by supporting these schemes , it begs the question as to what else they might be prepared to help fund that we could manage at the local level. Extending the role of the Town Steward seems to make sense initially to include such things as street lighting and signs. Other local services from tourist information, public conveniences, car parks, sports facilities all could perhaps be better managed locally. The question will remain as to if the county or district will be prepared to let Rye Town Council have the funds that they currently spend on our behalf.
Whatever happens, Nicky Ledger deserves to be congratulated on the excellent start he has made as Town Steward and Rye Town Council is to be congratulated on taking this very significant and positive step.