Leaking Rye bus shelters are not ‘fit for purpose’

18/9/13- The Station Approach bus stop in Rye.
18/9/13- The Station Approach bus stop in Rye.

INADEQUATE bus shelters in Rye need to be sorted out before winter arrives say councillors.

New bus shelters were introduced in 2010 in a bid to improve the shabby appearance of the Station Approach area.

But since then there have been complaints from the public that the French made shelters are not very good at sheltering people and bus users have been soaked while waiting for their bus.

The shelters, which cost £8,000 each, were installed by Rother District Council but the design was chosen by Rye Town Council.

Councillors say they chose the shelters on the basis that the design enhanced the town and that they were vandal proof and could not have known there would be a problem with them not being weather-proof.

The design of the shelters means there are gaps in the Perspex at the top and bottom and wind direction can drive rain into them.

Addressing earlier complaints, Rye councillor Mary Smith said: “Depending on which way the wind is blowing it can dump lots of water down people’s necks because of the gap at the back of the shelter.

“They cost a lot of money but seem to be poorly designed.”

The issue was raised again at Monday’s Rye Town Council meeting where there was even talk of selling the shelters back to the French or offering them to local pubs for use as smoking shelters.

Cllr Bernardine Fiddimore said: “We are still getting comments from the public that the shelters are inadequate.”

Town Clerk Richard Farhall said the complaints had decreased from what they were but councillors said this could be due to the fine summer.

Cllr John Breeds said: “I have thought about this and there is really no way of addressing the problem in terms of remedial activity due to the way the shelters are designed. There are gaps everywhere.”

Cllr Jonathan Breeds said: “Could we not think of filling some of the gaps, perhaps with waxed canvas.

“These shelters may as well not be there at all.

“Perhaps some local businesses could sponsor improvements.”

Mr Farhall said: “Canvas could get tatty very quickly and would be liable to be vandalised.”

Cllr Fiddimore said: “There are similar shelters in Hastings but they are closer to buildings which prevents the wind and rain from driving in.

“A bus shelter should be a shelter but it looks as though we are stuck with them.”

Cllr Mike Eve suggested publicising the problem and inviting people in the community to come up with a creative solution.

Cllr John Breeds said: “We could not have known they would not be any good. You assume a shelter will be fit for purpose.”

Cllr Fidimore said: “We can’t be seen to be doing nothing.”

The Council voted to send a polite inquiry to Rother District Council.