A group of residents have put together a bid to buy a 71-acre field in a few days before it is due to be auctioned by the council.
Rother District Council is selling Camber Fields along with other assets to raise around £200,000 without offering the site off New Road to Rye Town Council.
But the group has raised the guide price of £70,000 through the Rye Fund to purchase the land to stop the valued community asset being developed.
“The Rye Fund expressed interest to Rother back in June last year that it was interested in acquiring this site to secure it for the local community,” group spokesman Mike Eve said.
“And we were disappointed to hear nothing back until a couple of weeks ago when they suddenly announced it was to be sold off at auction in London on May 9.
“Since then Rother have refused to withdraw the land from the auction, which has a guideline price of £70,000, despite requests by Rye Town Council to do so, so a local bid could be prepared to buy back land the town used to own.”
Since the auction cannot guarantee the council will get £70,000 for the land, the group behind the bid believe that as a public body, Rother should take the offer on the table rather than gamble with a public asset.
Despite concerns about asbestos at the former town dump and erosion from the river, Camber Fields has value for the community in many ways.
It holds a strategic position on the visual horizon from Rye, it is a popular walking and cycling, it provides grazing for sheep and it is central to the Rye Fawkes celebrations as this is where the firework display is launched.
“All in all we believe that this is part of Rye’s heritage and should not end up being sold to distant property speculators,” Mr Eve said.
“I urge Ryers to contact Rother immediately in support of our community bid and to ask them to withdraw it from Monday’s auction.”
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