Observer Comment: Rye traders... missing the point?

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THERE has been much anger from traders, and some councillors following the Observer’s report of a council meeting to discuss the potential trip hazard of A-boards and traders spreading out on the pavement.

Many traders have contacted us to say that they own the area, or pavement outside their premises and can therefore do exactly as they please.

But isn’t this missing the point? Even if they do own the area is it right to clutter it with potential hazards that could cause an elderly or partially sighted person to trip and hurt themselves or a mother with a buggy to have to walk out into the road just to get round?

As the Mayor himself pointed out – one elderly lady has already had a fall after tripping over a pavement display.

Of course no-one wants to see shops prevented from making an honest living during these difficult times but neither do we want to see people hurt and injured.

Retailers need to bear in mind that not all of their customers are able-bodied or with perfect eye-sight and that there are many elderly people in Rye who have mobility problems.

Rye Town Council was responding to genuine concerns raised by members of the public – the very people who shop in Rye.

The council’s working group that drew up the list of A-boards and potential problems could, and perhaps should, have approached and spoken to traders as they undertook the survey.

Perhaps in their indignation some of the traders, who have been so vociferous, are not stopping to consider that they may well be annoying, inconveniencing and isolating their own potential customers.

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BATTLE Comment:

IT’S nearly crunch time for Battle’s car parks.

Rother is getting closer to making a decision on whether to introduce a raft of unpopular car park charges, which some fear could sound the death knell for some of the town’s businesses.

Traders and the council made their views known earlier this week at a working group meeting.

The Battle and District Chamber of Commerce is optimistic that Rother took on board everything it said and hopes the council will see sense.

I’m not so sure. I think by setting itself a target of £100,000 income, Rother has perhaps already indicated its intentions.

But I hope I am wrong.

* I’m looking forward to Battle Gala Night on Thursday.

Usually all my Christmas shopping is done and dusted by now, but it’s fair to say I’ve been a little slack this year.

The gala night, along with last weekend’s Christmas lights-on event, is organised by the hard-working chamber of commerce.

If the new parking fees are introduced in their current form, shoppers have indicated they may stay away from the town.

This in turn could lead to businesses going bust, which could have a knock on effect on the town’s chamber of commerce.

As the chamber is responsible for so many events in the town, including the Christmas lights switch-on, Good Friday Marbles and Battle Medieval Fair, there may no longer be the resources available to stage these fabulous events.

And the town would be all the poorer for it.