Cost of voting

The Rye View with Granville Bantick, Rye Town Councillor
The Rye View with Granville Bantick, Rye Town Councillor

I have been asked why there was not an election for the vacancy on the Town Council when seven candidates had applied to be co-opted to replace Lord Ampthill who had resigned?

The simple answer is it would have cost the public purse £5,000 to hold an election, a sum which is at present being queried by Cll Mary Smith who has taken the matter up with Rother District Council under the Freedom of Information Act to ascertain how such a sum is made up.

It is incredible that an election for a vacancy on the Town Council should cost so much whilst many other Councils either do not charge, or if they do, they charge at a much lower rate.

The successful candidate, after several ballots with the one with the least votes dropping out, was Michael Boyd who beat Mandy Turner by a single vote.

It was gratifying that all those candidates who attended for the interviews said they would stand again in the 2015 local elections.

Because it will be a democratic election next time there will be 16 places on the Town Council to fill, and a chance for anyone on the election register interested in standing to throw his or her hat in the ring.

It has been reported that the Environment Agency has completed the integral part of the harbour’s navigation channel which will be a big boost to Rye’s local economy. Much is being done by the Agency on many fronts.

Locally they are spending much money on rebuilding the defences around the coast of Romney Marsh against the ravages of the sea and weather.

It is a full time job as each year as the shingle, which makes up the flood defences, moves around the coast and has to be replaced.

They had to replenish the beach at Jury’s Gap. There are many other schemes in the pipeline such as a concrete defence at Dymchurch, Lydd and Hythe Ranges and Romney Sands.

We in Rye often do not realize the work that is going on both on our local coastline and inland waterways.

I am involved being a member of the Rye Action Emergency Team (REACT) and the Defend Our Coasts Association (DOC).

It requires constant vigilance to ensure all the flood defences are maintained .and working satisfactorily.

Of course there is never enough money to do everything.

There is concern that there is insufficient communication with the public with regard to the Rye Neighbourhood Plan.

There seems to be a need for another public meeting so the public can be brought up to date with progress of the Plan.

There has been much debate at the meetings of the Steering Committee as to whether the Plan should encompass not only Rye but the contiguous areas such as Rye Harbour.

It makes sense of course to include the infrastructure, homes, businesses and facilities with natural links within the environs of Rye, particularly as there appears to be no other adjacent Neighbourhood Planning under way.

But there is one very big problem, and that is for instance Rye Harbour is part of Icklesham Parish Council (as is Winchelsea) which of course makes no sense at all but this is how it is.

Icklesham looks to Hastings more than it does to Rye, and does not feel very enthusiastic in negotiating a part of its parish to the Rye Plan.

All the more reason for a public meeting to air people’s views and move on making a decision as soon as possible.

Perhaps we should fall back on our core parish area, and have an aspirational plan to enlarge the area at a later date, particularly by Icklesham, in an attempt to influence development in the identified adjacent areas as Rother has suggested.