Residents vent concerns at Rye annual meeting

Rye Town Council members, leader of East Sussex County Council Keith Glazier, town clerk Richard Farhall and Rother District Councillor Lord Ampthill. Photo by Ray Prewer
Rye Town Council members, leader of East Sussex County Council Keith Glazier, town clerk Richard Farhall and Rother District Councillor Lord Ampthill. Photo by Ray Prewer

Issues that matter to the people of Rye were vented to councillors at the annual town meeting on Wednesday night (March 2).

The state of the pavements, the ‘dangerous’ Deadman’s Lane and parking enforcement were all raised by residents at Rye Community Centre.

Rye Town Councillors, East Sussex County Council’s leader Keith Glazier and Rother District Councillor Lord Ampthill took questions from the audience after mayor Bernadine Fiddimore’s review of the year.

She said she has had some of the best fun of her life as mayor but the highlight was riding at the front of the Christmas festival parade in a fire engine.

Cllr Fiddimore admitted the pavements are in an ‘abysmal state’ when the issue was raised.

And Cllr Glazier said a new proactive contract would mean the road maintenance team will be rewarded for keeping the highways in a good condition and punished for poor care, instead of just fixing problems when they happen.

The county councillor for Rye and Eastern Rother also encouraged people to report cracks and potholes to the Fix My Street website.

The Landgate Tower looks likely to become a preserved ruin after Anthony Kimber said this was the ‘only sensible option’.

No official figures have come from Rother on how much it will cost to fix and maintain it but £300,000 was suggested as was adding it to the Heritage at Risk Register which would enable funding from Historic England.

The dangers of walking on Deadman’s Lane seem no closer to being alleviated as Cllr Fiddimore said it is not possible to make a path as there is not enough space.

Margaret O’Neill it will only get worse with new houses and more children using the road which should be discouraged.

The heaps of soil seen on the Valley Park site will be taken up with the developers who are in the final stage of building the new houses, according to Mr Kimber.

He also said his fight with Southern Water to improve the town’s sewage system is ongoing as the company is ‘notoriously bad’ at investing in its infrastructure.

Action is needed as the new homes from Valley Park and potentially Tilling Green, combining with the heavy rainfall, causes ‘hydraulic overload’ and waste in the streets, Mr Kimber said.

The town council’s affordable housing project was promoted by the mayor who said the purchase of a home to be let at a discount would help young families stay in Rye and not be forced to relocate.

And Cllr Fiddimore defended the increased precept which equated to an extra 8p per week on average in council tax.

On parking enforcement, Cllr Ampthill said he was warming to the idea of civil parking enforcement as the police and crime commissioner, Katy Bourne, has said it is not a priority.

Many suggestions on how parking could be improved were made but Cllr Fiddimore pointed out that if no one is going to enforce the law then what is the point in having any.

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