The Rye View

What an inspiring event! The London Olympics were certainly that. As a keen active sportsman myself I was awe struck by our athletes who gave their all to win so many medals.

It was also an emotional experience for the winners and the losers. The event will hopefully leave a lasting legacy for our nation. It is hoped that one very important legacy will be greater emphasis on sport in our schools. It is of great concern that the government is still bent on selling off sports fields which negates all the rhetoric we hear from the Prime Minister that we must have more time for sport in schools.

In Rye, as in most schools, there is the difficult balance between time given for academic subjects and sport when teachers’ time is limited with having to meet targets. There certainly needs to be a rethink into how best of both worlds can be achieved.

After a two year absence the Rye Town Council has re-established its regular liaison meetings with Rother District Council officers in Rye.

The first was last week when the Directors of Resources and Finance and the Head of Amenities met a group of town councillors in the Town Hall. As you can imagine there was quite a full agenda including devolved services, arrangements for managing the allotments and the new joint grounds maintenance contract. There was full and frank discussion on these and other issues affecting the town of Rye.

It is hoped the officers will have returned to Bexhill with a much better concept of what is needed for this town. There is so much that is required to be done. Devolving services has been argued about for as long as I can remember, but nothing has been achieved. It seems, as ever, far away with Rother entering into new contracts with other District Authorities, shortage of information on costs and finance and much more. At Full Council last Monday Rye Town Council understandably decided to disband the Devolved Services Working Group. Any fresh approaches from Bexhill will be considered at Policy or Full Council level.

I recently had the opportunity to meet the developer, Mr Gavin Thomas, accompanied by Col Anhony Kimber, who gave us a tour of Valley Park. It appears phases 1 and 3 are complete and 66 houses having been built.

There are no immediate plans for phases 4 and 5 in the area above the retention basin which would eventually bring the total number up to 135 due to the current difficult financial climate in the housing industry and lack of demand.

The long term management of the SUDS system is in its infancy, but the intention will be to involve the community. I was struck by the excellent bio planting to reduce maintenance around the water courses which will reduce the rate of flow to the retention basin.

The footbridge from the Valley Park to Tilling Green Estate is planned to enter Cooper Road at the turning point from Old Brickyard, but only when funds become available. Designs for a gate to prevent motorcycles using this route are being examined which would allow the movement of the largest prams and motor buggies. It was good to see the paths had been resurfaced. All in all it can be said to have been a useful visit.

This paper has given much understandable space to the controversial plans of the NHS Trust, which runs the Conquest Hospital and the Eastbourne District General Hospital, to change general surgery services, musculoskeletal and orthopaedic services, and stroke sevices to be sited in Eastbourne.

The plans are explained in a Consultation Document which is available to the public from Shaping our Future Consultation Team (Tel: 01273 485300). District and Town Councillor, Sam Souster, rightly expressed his concern at the recent Full Town Council meeting asking the question whether this plan was the right way to go. His reasons are fundamental. The main one is distance and the time it would take for a stroke victim to be taken to Eastbourne from Rye.

Interestingly one wonders whether the ambulance service had been consulted? There is an opportunity for readers of the Consultation Document to respond, and I believe it is important that the public do so and express their views. The consultation ends on the 28th September.

It is gratifying to read that Rye’s Lion Street FE Centre has been saved for the community. It has been a very long fight and hard negotiation with Hastings College. The plans which will include120-seat cinema, an arts centre complex and café-bar/brasserie facilities will be great for the community. Rye Mayor Charles Meryon would be pleased if still alive.

The success of this project has been down to a small group of community minded people who had a vision led by Councillor Mike Eve and Hugh Kermode from the Fletcher Group, with the backing of the Rector of St Mary’s Church who also will have facilities there.

Let us hope there are others with vision who can light the way to see other areas of neglect in Rye restored such as the Monastry and the Landgate Arch clock!