New loading bay will help improve pedestrian safety

G Hotel
G Hotel

IT is hoped a new High Street loading bay will reduce the risk to pedestrians from heavy goods vehicles in Rye.

Councillors finally agreed on the location of a loading bay close the George Hotel after months of deliberation.

Rye Town Council’s Highways Forum has been working with the hotel to find a solution which protects pedestrians but does not have an adverse impact on its business.

The need for safety measures was raised more than a year ago after several near misses in Lion Street which saw delivery lorries parking on pavements and cars mounting footpaths to get round them.

The canopy of the Golden Fleece shop in Lion Street has been damaged a number of times by high sided vehicles.

Original plans to site the loading bay right outside the George were met with strong opposition from the hotel owner who said it would have a disastrous effect on business. The Forum came up with a solution to site the bay to the right of the George’s entrance and retain double yellow lines outside the George Grill, but with a ten minute waiting restriction to allow guests to unload.

The only sticking point at Monday evening’s meeting was the time restrictions on the proposed loading bay.

The Highways Forum wanted the bay to be restricted to goods vehicles only for 24 hours a day.

But some councillors, and a number of traders, felt this was too stringent and likened it to ‘using a hammer to crack a nut’.

After a lively debate and a narrow vote, the council voted to allow any vehicle to use the bay for unloading between 3pm and 11pm Monday to Saturday with no restrictions on Sundays. The time limit for the loading bay has yet to be set.

The scheme will run for a six month trial period.

East Sussex County Council’s Highways Authority, who have been working with the council, had said that if plans for the bay changed again it could cause long delays.

They said: “There are not adequate resources to keep chipping away at this situation.”

Rye Mayor Bernardine Fiddimore encouraged councillors to keep a balanced view and consider information from all parties.

Cllr Mary Smith said: “The county council has put an enormous amount of energy and work into this and we have had the very best advice.

“We have to get this right for pedestrians and school children. They have to be able to walk around Rye without being put in danger by delivery lorries and cars overtaking them.”

We have all been warned - we have seen the photographic evidence. How would we feel if an accident happened? We have to make Rye safe.

Rye county councillor Keith Glazier said: “The key thing here is that the police act. The issue won’t be whether it is free between 3pm and 11pm but whether it is policed at all.”