Strategic planning news


Rye has had a Neighbourhood (Development) Plan since mid 2019. This is a statutory planning document, approved by local referendum, which enables Rye Town Council to influence strategic planning and development across Rye.

Routinely, Rye Town Council keeps up with national and district planning policy changes. Before Christmas, the government’s Levelling Up and Regeneration Act received Royal Assent and sets out a framework for the revision of national planning policy. A good deal of the Act requires secondary legislation to enact detailed policy, therefore the full impact will take time to become clear.

Concurrently, Rother District has been working to revise its Local Plan. This sets detailed policy for the whole district. For areas like Rye, with its own plan, Rother does not allocate sites, as we have already done that, but it does cover all the other detailed planning policy, such as for climate change, (called “Green to the Core”) and necessary social services (called “Live Well Locally”).

As the Rye Plan has to conform to all higher policy, the Rye Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group has remained engaged since mid 2023, with a view to assessing all the changes necessary to ensure that Rye Plan remains in conformity.

Last Friday we had first sight of the recently drafted Rother Local Plan. In addition to two supporting documents, the main draft is 425 pages, with Rye mentioned specifically on 50 of them, therefore there is much to consider. Under consultation rules, we are required to formally comment on the draft by the summer, by answering most of the 202 questions!

There are 10 main planning themes, of most interest are the housing and business policy, the climate emergency policy and social policies to improve sustainable and inclusive communities.

Separately, Rye is considering, in addition to many other strategic planning issues, the impact of second homes, traffic and parking issues. From initial assessments, we assess that the voluntary work to modify the Rye Plan is going to be manageable and will continue throughout the year.

Rye planners have already completed one significant piece of related work, a strategic review of the sites around Rye considered by owners and developers to have potential for development. This work will feed into the Rother’s work and will result in further consultation in the summer.

Throughout, Rye Town Council has underscored its determination to preserve the unique character of Rye, while delivering some social and open market housing and by improving policy to protect surrounding bio-diversity and landscapes, mitigate flood risk and implement climate change policy.

All this discussion and consideration takes place in the Rye Planning and Townscape Committee and the Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group. To enable interested parties to keep up to date, records of all planning meetings can be found on the Rye Town Council website. As work progresses we will report further.

Since 2013, I have coordinated work on the Rye Neighbourhood Plan.

Image Credits: Anthony Kimber .

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  1. Thank you as always for the update, Anthony. Having a coordinated approach to Rye’s particular housing issues seems like a crucial point to me, especially the issue of affordable homes.


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