Our views are needed

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As a resident of Rye, I offer brief note-form comments on the Rye Neighbourhood Plan, including my entirely personal thoughts, views and suggestions – some may be ill informed – in the hope of stimulating others. We have a great opportunity to improve the way our exceptionally lovely town works.

1. Shift supermarket site away from level crossing. Use other Council land: Gibbets Marsh or Freda Gardham. Thereby release more land for the schools; more space is needed for the primary and the sports school. And avoid temptation to try to encroach on the new community garden.

2. Develop junior sports area(s) and use for coaching sessions, especially on a Friday evening: dads’ coaching, a hut with outside seating for parents to watch, support their kids, socialise and enhance community spirit. It works well in other small towns. Needs a bar in the hut. Could be off Military Road or Freda Gardham sports area.

3. Create parks. At present best “park” benches are in the graveyards. Use land opposite Tilling Green Centre, ideal site with estate one side of it and children’s play area the other, and the centre close by. Supply picnic benches, create groves/glades, circular walks, features like insect hotels, duck pond, green gym. Build raised paths through it as land is soggy in winter. These will provide banks to roll down in summer. Everything could be created by a community project.

4. The new Tilling Green Community Centre plan is inadequate – a false economy. The new housing could have been built around the existing centre with part of the needed parking at its front. It is costly to demolish and remove the old one to be replaced by what? Issues that the existing centre is not energy efficient enough have been overplayed, possibly for political reasons. They could be dealt with and some have, eg excellent double glazing is installed, but radiators blast out excess heat while sun beats in doing the same – no radiator valves. The building has excellent large and small areas, each with a good kitchen, quality parquet floor – no equivalent replacement. Will/should the Rye Partnership, despite their good works, monopolise the new rooms or share with public users?

5. Welcome to the new RX energy and power initiatives which will develop and deliver power from suitable new solar panel sites. The historic character of the town can be preserved and avoid solar panels on its medieval houses (they would look hideous) yet benefit from sustainable energy sources.

6. Yes, traffic is a problem, but too costly and destructive to the coherence of the town to change much. I’d rather settle for narrow pavements and take my luck for brief parking. Plenty of longer parking available near enough. We manage, many of us are too old or lazy to walk far from car parks. Park and Ride schemes are unsuitable for brief calls to buy a loaf, go to the bank, spontaneous encounters. Need more signs re the volunteers’ bus which could serve as a Park  and Ride.