Observer Comment: Dangerous, rat infested eye-sore... a disgrace

A ROW of shabby derelict houses in Rye’s conservation area has blighted the town for more than a decade now.

The fact that a dangerous, rat infested eye-sore has been allowed to remain for so long in a prominent part of the Conservation Area is staggering.

The derelict houses, with their position on the A259 entry into Rye, create a bad impression of the town for visitors and those passing through.

The current owners had announced plans to demolish the cottages and build like for like new homes on the site.

Now we learn they are to sell them at auction next month as a job lot which will only serve to prolong the whole sorry saga.

Planning permission to build comes with the reasonable condition that the developers stabilise the steep bank behind the properties to prevent a repeat of the landslide scenario. But the cost of carrying out that work is proving to be prohibitive. It was first estimated at £500,000 - now its is believed to be closer to £1 million.

We agree with Rye councillor Sam Souster that Rother Council must shoulder some of the blame for the situation dragging on.

The council has the power to serve a Section 215 order on the owners. This gives them a limited period of time to make repairs and improve the appearance of the buildings. If they fail to do so the council has the power to carry out the work itself and make the owners pay.

Rother did eventually issue an order following mounting pressure from the Town Council but it has not been active in enforcing it.

Compare this to proactive Hastings Borough Council which currently has more than 500 orders in force compelling irresponsible owners to tidy up shabby buildings.

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BATTLE

POLICE are hunting for a van driver following an horrific hit and run incident on the A21.

Mary Chapman was jogging on the grass verge when she was hit by the van, which promptly drove off without even a backward glance to see if she was alive or dead.

Panic can make people do strange things, and I suppose no-one can know how they would react if they ever found themselves in that situation.

But it has been over a week now and the driver still has not made his or herself known to the police.

This coward may have gone to ground, but they are simply making it worse for themselves when the police come knocking.

Mary is still bearing the physical and emotional scars of an accident for which she was completely blameless.

If you were responsible for leaving that poor woman laying in a pool of blood at the side of the road, do the decent thing and hand yourself in and stop delaying the inevitable.

On a cheerier note, Christmas comes to Battle on Saturday, November 26, with the switching on of the town’s Christmas lights.

The whole event has been organised by the town’s chamber of commerce.

Battle is lucky to have such a dynamic and active chamber, which works so hard to put on such excellent events to help show the world what the town has to offer.