Rye Observer Comment: An eventful year ahead

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2012 is already proving to be an eventful year for Rye and the surrounding area.

One week alone has seen the re-opening of the rail line after two months closure; newts stopping roadworks; plans for a new development to replace the Central Garage eye-sore; progress in keeping the Winchelsea Road service station open and Rye being named as Rother’s main tourism hub.

And if that is not enough Rye Hospital has announced a multi-million pound improvement scheme that should safeguard its future allowing it to provide a service to Rye and the surrounding villages for generations to come.

This year should also see a resolution in the long-running battle to open a supermarket in Rye and there are still many big events to come - the Olympic torch coming to Rye, an international jazz festival, Jubilee celebrations and Rye College’s exciting street carnival.

The Rye Observer is double the size in pages that it was when it launched nearly 20 years ago and yet finding space for all the news this week was a real challenge.

Next week we’ll be taking a close look at how parts of historic Rye are falling into deterioration and asking what can be done to prevent this.

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Battle Observer Comment: A shame if Costa Coffee puts smaller cafes out of business

ONE of the biggest eyesores in Battle may soon be a distant memory.

The 1066 pub closed in 2009 and has stood boarded up in a prime spot in the centre of town ever since.

So it’s no surprise that traders, shoppers and residents alike are pleased that the Grade II listed building is likely to reopen shortly.

The news that has pleased people less is that coffee shop chain Costa Coffee will be moving in.

Some have said a national chain could have a detrimental effect on the character of Battle by taking it another step towards an identikit High Street you could find in any other town.

And smaller independent coffee shops, even the long-established ones, must find themselves slightly nervous with the prospect of the retail giant potentially muscling in on their clientele.

It is a shame that the 1066 couldn’t reopen as an independent shop, cafe or even as a pub, but it was getting to the point that anything was better than the ugly, empty building that greeted visitors arriving at the Abbey Green.

It would just be a shame if the arrival of Costa Coffee puts smaller cafes out of business, especially at a time when the town centre is looking so healthy.