Rye faces ‘seismic’ changes says Conservation Society

Con Society
Con Society

RYE Conservation Society says it is having to contend with ‘seismic’ changes to planning legislation.

Unsurprisingly, planning issues were high on the agenda when the Society held its recent AGM at a packed Rye Town Hall.

The AGM was followed by the Society’s annual lunch at the Mermaid, which was attended by President Donald Sinden.

Julian Luckett, Chairman of the Planning Committee, said: “The numbers of applications in 2012 were slightly down, which is understandable given the economic conditions.

“Planning is rarely a black or white decision except when you are presented with an application such as the recent one for new signage on Lloyds Bank in the High Street. It is truly horrible. And, on the subject of signage, we and Rother are still waiting for ESCC to put in an application for new signage on the library.

“As a planning committee, we are required to judge the applications against criteria such as use, form, size, materials and access.

“The historic nature of individual buildings and the preservation of the conservation area are always of great importance. Other matters that many think of as being of crucial fall outside of specific planning criteria such as past history, future ownership and commercial considerations.

“We have adopted the principle of where the balance is in favour of a scheme, we would not object, but where appropriate would recommend changes.

“This has been the case with the Lion Street development, which we as a Society have supported over the last two years. That scheme was granted consent with most of our recommendations incorporated into the final scheme, although we are sad that a requirement for a replacement spire has not been made a condition.

“It is the day-to-day applications that attract the most interest amongst members and other residents of Rye, but they have to be seen in the light of the seismic change in planning legislation that has occurred over the past year.

“ The Localism Bill is now with us and the first neighbourhood plans are being finalised for testing by popular vote. Rye has started on the development of such a plan and we as a Society will play our part.”