The prospect of Rye getting its long-awaited supermarket seemed further away than ever this week with no sign of a break-through between Tesco and Sainsburys and fears that both may lose interest and walk away,
Now there has been a call by Rye councillor Sam Souster for Rother Council to issue a compulsory purchase order for the land so it can be utilised for Rye’s expanding schools.
Cllr Souster believes there could be potential for using the Freda Gardham site at New Road despite there being building restrictions until flood defence work is completed.
Cllr Souster said: “You only have to look at the Tesco in Hastings which has its access on a floor above the car park. That could address flooding concerns.”
But there are growing concerns that supermarket chains are putting building programmes on hold.
Tesco have already pulled out of plans to build new stores at Coventry, Felixstowe and Brixham in Devon.
A Tesco spokesperson said: “Customers are increasingly shopping on line and we are building fewer larger stores.”
At a planning meeting in Rye this week, former town Mayor Cllr John Breeds said: “The supermarket we have at the moment is awful and expensive. I now live on Tilling Green and the little shop there is cheaper and has a better range of stock for its size.
“Time and time again people complain that we have a supermarket that does not open on Sundays.”
Rye Mayor Cllr Bernardine Fiddimore said: “A supermarket on the Freda Gardham site would prevent vehicles from Camber coming into Rye for their food shopping.”
It was way back in 2010 when Tesco and Sainsbury’s came into Rye to unveil their plans in separate exhibitions.
A major stumbling block to Rye getting a new supermarket has been Tesco’s ownership of the Queen Adelaide pub in Ferry Road, which stands in the way of a proposed access road for the site.
Discussions between the two stores are ongoing.