Unacceptable congestion

A queue forms as vehicles struggle with single lane traffic in Military Road

In a town such as Rye, much of it built in the days of the horse and cart, modern-day traffic is always going to be a problem. In summer the problem becomes worse with the many thousands of visitors attracted to our town needing somewhere to park their cars.
A few years ago it was a free-for-all with vehicles paying no heed to double yellow lines or No Parking signs. This has largely been resolved in the town centre by the introduction of new parking controls monitored by wardens. Outside the town centre, however, it is a different matter.

Take Military Road as an example. At one time, while it has always been a well-used route into Rye from the east, the few hundred yards from its junction at the bottom of Rye Hill is wide and despite residents cars parked on one side, could easily accommodate two-way traffic. Anyone using the road now, however, will find it packed with vehicles on both sides, leaving, at one point, just a narrow single lane gap for cars, vans and lorries to squeeze through.

It is only a question of time before there is an accident even though this situation was foreseen at the time of the introduction of the town-centre controls. In fact, not only was it foreseen, but East Sussex County Council were warned on numerous occasions by Rye Town Council that this was the likely consequence of Civil Parking Enforcement (CPE) controls and should be taken into consideration.

Sadly these warnings fell on deaf ears and the best that could be obtained was a promise from Rye’s county councillor (who as leader of the council, one can assume is not without influence there) that after a year a survey and consultation would be carried out to determine whether any adjustments to the scheme would be required.

After a reminder of this in Rye News, a survey of a sort was commissioned. So far as we are aware, no-one from the contractors conducting the survey actually set foot in the town but a survey form was sent to residents. It consisted of just three questions on how we, as residents, used our cars within the town centre – questions that would have been far more appropriate for people living outside Rye who might need to use their cars to travel in.

There was no attempt to address the problem of where vehicles, displaced from the centre, might park and despite airing this subject in these columns some while ago, there has been no response from our county councillor.

This is not a situation which should be allowed to continue. Military Road is just an example and the same problem applies to Love Lane, Tilling Green, Udimore Road and virtually all unrestricted roads within a short walk of the High Street.

We are not being well served by the authority that is supposed to work on our behalf – and to whom we pay taxes. Both East Sussex County Council (ESCC) and Rother District Council have an involvement, but the lead council when it comes to local roads is ESCC and it is simply not doing its job.

Image Credits: John Minter .


  1. Surely the way forward for the parking problem in military road, on the narrow part,is for the town council to ask for parking bollards from Rother police,and the town steward to space them out along that road,just like our special constable Neil used to do, on busy days like Thursdays, it’s not rocket science to get over this problem at present,as East Sussex County Council and others dither over making a decision, before someone gets killed.

  2. As a resident of North Salts I have commented on many occasions to both the Rye news and the Rye Town Council (including the Mayor in person) on the very busy and congested Military Road, but nothing has happened to improve the congestion and I don’t believe there are any plans in place to make such improvements!? There have been a number of traffic accidents, albeit minor and no one has been injured just yet. I have previously suggested double yellow lines with down one side will make a huge improvement to the congestion or as John T has already stated the obvious easy fix to trial – parking bollards. I have and still do witness large farm vehicles, Fire Engines, Lorries and coaches really struggling to safely navigate this congested narrow road – it needs urgent action now!!

  3. Military Road parking,an accident waiting to happen.Due to the inconsiderate individuals looking for free parking. These cheapskates are from many walks of life including many back packing hikers. On one occasion I counted nine of them setting off from Military Road. It’s high time stringent action was taken.

  4. I drove down here on Thursday last week. I sat there giving way to loads of of cars. No problem. I finally went when it was clear but a man in a car approaching had to stop for me. He then decided it would be nice to swear at me. It literally took me two seconds to get past him. Sometimes I think people are just too impatient.

  5. The parking problems anywhere around the outskirts of Rye have been exacerbated by people looking for free parking since the introduction of parking charges in the town. Made even worse on Thursdays with the market car park being unavailable for cars. You will always get certain people not prepared to pay for parking.
    It will take a serious accident to occur before the councils actually take any notice of the problem.
    The top of the harbour road is another place where parking is increasing, taking the traffic flow down to single file in places, as it is in Military road.
    What is also very noticeable in Rye if you are in the town frequently is the number of cars that can actually park all day, often day after day with a disabled badge in the windscreen.

  6. Whilst on the subject of parking in Rye I fully concur with the aforementioned comments. Military Road is an accident waiting to happen. Whereas some blue badge holders seem to have carte Blanche to park where they want and as long as they want in normal 2 hour zones

  7. I agree that the congestion in areas such as military road and tilling green is completely unacceptable yet the question arises, the over a million or so tourists we get a year have to park somewhere, and it would be rather a big nuisance if we force them to park further from the town. If we get them to park too far away because our car parks simply cannot handle them all, then our number of tourists could decrease as some may believe that it is not worth the hassle to walk to the town.
    So, yes I agree that traffic and parking is a rather pressing issue but first we must set out a solution for the issue before we begin attacking Rother District council or East Sussex County Council.

  8. Wide vehicles are definitely struggling to move along Military Road where cars park on both sides. Bumpers and wings of cars are seen damaged as evidence of this.

    Should a fire engine need to get through there are times that it may not be possible due to this crazy situation of how people are parking without thought.


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