I agree with the editorial headline in the 13th September edition of the “Rye Observer”, “Time to put pedestrians first”.
This was a splendid piece which chimed well with the efforts of the Rye Highways Forum to see how traffic management could be improved in the town.
The second meeting of the Forum met on the 23rd September. Besides me as Chairman it was attended by Cllr Keith Glazier, three police officers, and representatives from the Chamber of Commerce, the Rye Conservation Society and the Rye Community Transport Group.
It was a very full agenda, the foremost task for the Forum being the need to decide where the proposed loading bays should be sited in the High Street in order to ease the chaos in Lion Street.
After a long discussion a compromise solution was agreed unanimously which should be in the interests of all parties concerned. As the Forum does not have delegated powers Rye Town Council’s formal approval will be necessary.
It is hoped then that it will not take too long before the loading bays are in place as the residents of Lion Street are understandably at the end of their tether.
Other matters discussed were the need for a traffic warden, speeding, improved signage, removal of unnecessary double yellow lines, cobble maintenance and more dropped curbs, all of which received helpful contributions from County Councillor Keith Glazier, and his road safety manager, Brian Banks.
Action will be taken where it was feasible to do so, bearing in mind the severe financial constraints East Sussex County Council are having to bear.
Something else which has gone on too long is the supermarket debacle. This running sore seems to have a life of its own without any solution being found.
It is unlikely that Tesco will give way to allow Sainsbury’s to have its access to the site, the company having spent much money in the process.
I support Amber Rudd’s efforts to find a solution, but it must be remembered that this site has been derelict for around 15 years, and was originally earmarked for housing in the Local Plan.
Amber rightly says the site is causing blight and irritation to the whole town. It would seem the impasse can be only overcome if either Tesco allows access to the site through the demolition of the Queen Adelaide (unlikely), or a compulsory purchase order is taken out to acquire the properties owned by Tesco so demolition can take place.
If nothing happens before the applications require renewing in a year or two, the Tesco application could be refused to allow Sainsburys to develop its supermarket as it had intended.
I agree with those who feel we should not have any variation to the conditions contained in the original applications if and when they are reconsidered.
Of course Tesco could appeal if its planning reapplication was refused, but perhaps sense would prevail?
Away from the fraught of traffic chaos and supermarket wars let us think what a lovely summer it has been.
The families have enjoyed holidays and days out giving children more freedom to play outside.
We must believe the shopkeepers too have benefited from this summer weather too and given them a fillip from having more visitors coming through their doors. Speaker’s Day was a resounding success.
The Rye Arts Festival has had another good year with many of its events sold out, and despite the problems that continue to beset the town, Rye still is a great place to live.