Olympic torch ‘visit’ branded waste of money

THE Olympic Torch coming to Rye in July would be a waste of public money and would not benefit the town says one local councillor.

Rye councillors met on Monday to consider a proposal, put forward by Cllr Ian Potter that the council should oppose the torch passing through Rye on the grounds that “holding the Olympics cannot be afforded during a time of austerity and the visit of the torch relay is likely to cause congestion.”

Cllr Potter said: “The Olympics is a complete waste of money and the town will not benefit from it at all.

“We have no say in the route – the town will descend into chaos.

“It is not even in the spirit of the Olympics, the torch is driven from place to place in a car.

“Will this bring in tourism? No. Will it generate money for the town?

“Absolutely not. Will it generate chaos and congestion? Yes.”

Cllr Potter’s proposal fell, but there was some support for it with three councillors voting in favour of the council opposing the torch and others commenting that while they agreed with him they did not want the council to come across in a bad light due to the weight of expectation attached to the event.

Cllr Mary Smith said: “I totally support Cllr Potter’s proposal. Children will be disappointed when this pathetic little torch comes by and there will be traffic delays.”

Cllr Bernardine Fiddimore said: “I think this council would be regarded as churlish if it opposed this. It is going to happen anyway.”

Lord Ampthill commented: “This is a spoilsport proposal”.

Rye Town Clerk Richard Farhall said: “Rother District Council is organising the marshalling for the event but there seems to be a lot of secrecy involved.”

The torch is set to pass through Rye on July 18 at around 8.30am. It will be driven to Rye from Battle before a runner takes it up.