Having lived through the reign of four monarchs I can look back upon my life under the reign of Queen Elizabeth II with greater appreciation of the enormous changes that have taken place in our country, mostly I think for the better.
The Diamond Jubilee celebrations have been a source of reflection as well as a great enjoyable experience. Certainly in Rye and the surrounding villages the enthusiasm to celebrate this wonderful event has been self evident. The bunting and flags will be taken down but the memory of last weekend will live in our minds for ever, such was the outpourings from the citizens of our great country. Surely this must bode well for our future.
Now we have the Olympics to look forward to in July. The Olympic flame (or should I say flames as there is rather more than one Olympic torch) is working its way around the country, and on the 18th July it will arrive in Rye.
However, I am saddened to read that the ideals of amateurism and selfless endeavour are gradually being blotted out by the demands of the Games’ commercial sponsors. You may wonder why I say this. I had thought that torch bearers were supposed to be local heroes chosen to represent every corner of the United Kingdom that the torch passes through, but in many towns and cities I understand that this will not be so, but someone selected by the sponsors, Coca-Cola being the main one. This seems to me to totally negate the whole Olympic spirit. The streets of Rye will no doubt be crowded with cheering crowds. Let us hope that they will be cheering, at least in Rye, for some worthy individual chosen from Rye.
The new Civic Year of Rye Town Council has had its first meetings. Councillors have been elected to their new committees and outside bodies in the annual Committee Formation procedures. Most have regained their old positions so there will be continuity.
The devolution debate will be heating up as Rother District Council put on the pressure to bring about the devolvement of some services to Town and Parish Councils. It is interesting that it has not excluded the possibility of the creation of an area committee structure despite their objections in the past. Whilst Rother had on a number of occasions looked at the advantages/disadvantages of both the creation of a Town Council for Bexhill and the creation of Area Committees, for a variety of reasons, this Council had chosen in the past not to progress either of these options. But now it seems, due to the dire financial straits that Rother finds itself in it is prepared to revisit these options. Rye Town Council’s own Devolution Working Group will be responding to the change of heart in Bexhill, and will be setting out its own thoughts why Eastern Rother, of which Rye is an integral part, could have an area committee structure which would be more democratic and closer to the ideal of localism so proclaimed by this government. After all it should be remembered over a third of Councils in England have taken this route in various forms.
The Rye Emergency Action Team (REACT) is shortly to have another meeting to discuss the long term maintenance of the Valley Park infrastructure. The developer, Aroncorp, has suggested that a maintenance company will be arranged once it leaves, but clearly it is in Rye’s interest to ensure that the maintenance arrangement for the SUDS System is effective, to ensure that the flood risks are mitigated. It is expected that given the current rates of sale completion of the development and the handover will take place at the end of 2014.
From meetings the REACT Chairman, Col Kimber, has had with Aroncorp’s managing director, Mr Gavin Thomas, it is reported that there will be a mechanism to stop vehicular traffic between Old Brickyard and Valley Park which has been a great concern of residents of Old Brickyard. It is thought that these and residents’ other concerns which have been expressed publicly will be addressed. It is fortunate that we have a good dialogue with the managing director who has put himself out to allay people’s fears.
With gales battering Britain and constant rain one is asking whether we shall have a decent summer at all. Others are asking when Southern Water will allow us again to use our hoses assuming dry weather will eventually arrive. The seasons are in disarray. Who would have imagined that we would have a June monsoon in this country which is normal in India where I once lived? My four water butts are full so I am prepared!