Looking back through some of the stories we have covered in the last year, it is apparent that there are a number of ongoing issues in the town that our Town Council (RTC) is going to have to deal with in 2017.
Clearly traffic and parking come towards the top of the list. We all know that parking is out of control and it would seem that however many times this is raised and however many complaints are made, little or no effort is made to propose a solution, but instead councillors seem prepared just to sit back and wait for Civil Parking Enforcement (CPE) to arrive in a year or two (or possibly three) and assume that will be the panacea to all the traffic problems – which, without other traffic control measures to accompany it, it will not.
Rye Town Council cannot, of course, deal with this matter on their own – both Rother District Council (RDC) and East Sussex County Council (ESCC) are involved. This does not stop our councillors, though, from being pro-active and producing a plan for general traffic control to be considered along with CPE by the other Authorities. The Rye Neighbourhood Plan (upon which we will all be asked to vote in due course) makes a number of suggestions, but so far the only reaction from RTC has come from one councillor who has objected to part of the traffic control measures, but without making any concrete alternative suggestions.
Another matter for consideration is the future of the Landgate – ignored for years by Rother who, now that they have realised serious money needs to be spent on it, have decided that ownership should be transferred back to Rye. A detailed surveyor’s report was carried out some months ago by RDC, but this has yet to be made public. We understand, however, that the cost of work to stabilise the structure could already run into several hundred thousand pounds and all the time that Rother and RTC dither, that cost is going to increase. Once again this requires RTC to be pro-active, to demand the report and, if Rother are going to continue to procrastinate, to come up, themselves, with a plan by which the transfer and future maintenance can be managed. On the plus side our Rother councillor has undertaken, whatever ownership arrangement is finally reached with RDC, to press them to contribute at least the equivalent to the money they raised on the sale of Camber Fields towards repairs.
We mentioned, above, the Neighbourhood Plan. This is an important document which is designed to enable the residents of Rye to decide how the town should develop over the coming years. Recent actions by at least one nearby local authority as well as central government have cast an element of doubt on the effectiveness of a final approved plan, but, nevertheless a team here have been putting an enormous amount time and effort into producing ours. Before finally taking effect it needs the approval of RTC (which, to date, it has) and then of RDC. The Plan website will give an indication of the amount of work that has gone into it so far and the current (and almost final) version is available to read here. Do please go and have a look at it. At a future date we will all be asked, by way of a local referendum, to vote either for or against it, and it is important that everyone should be aware of its content. Be warned, at 148 pages it is not a quick read, but make the time and effort and you are guaranteed to learn things you never knew about the town.
One final matter cannot be ignored, and that is the future of any safety measures at Camber Sands. This is, of course, a matter over which RTC has no control, but it does affect the town and thereby gives us a legitimate interest in decisions taken. At peak levels, the Sands can accommodate around 25,000 people. A not insignificant number of these will also make their way into Rye and, in one form or another, contribute to the town’s economy. Last week we published a strong article by one of our regular readers, together, the following day, with the official reply from RDC. Whether or not you agree with either article, it is vital that all potential visitors to Camber are assured that it is safe and that measures are in place to ensure that they will come to no harm. We may curse the hold-ups caused by long queues of vehicles on their way to Camber on sunny summer weekends, but if those vehicles stopped coming, Rye would, quite literally, be a poorer place.
Photos: Rye News library