Curtain goes up on local ‘operetta’

John Howlett is fond of comparing Rye Town Council meetings to a Gilbert & Sullivan opera (December 24).

To avoid disappointment your readers should note that there is, alas, no bursting into song at meetings but, on the plus side, any entertainment provided, intentionally or not, comes with free admission.

The statutory highways authority for Rye is East Sussex County Council. It is charged with ensuring we can use public highways (primarily roads and pavements) without hindrance. Rye Town Council has few specific powers in relation to highways matters.

In periods of snow the County Council prioritises clearing and salting A and B roads which, in practice, means that it does not reach many ‘side roads’ and pavements throughout the county. As part of a major review following three snowfall episodes last winter the County Council has recently provided towns with one tonne ‘hippo’ bags of salt for use by residents and traders on public highways only.

Unfortunately, Rye’s bag was delivered to the wrong location and went undetected for a number of days. The bag is now in Cinque Ports Street car park and I personally used some of the salt on the pavement between Crownfields public conveniences and the Cinque Ports Arms, and on a stretch in Military Road.

At their meetings councillors may make lawful decisions only on matters which appear on the agenda. The agenda for the last council meeting was prepared before the last snowfall.

However, the Town Council will be considering what it can do to assist the Highways Authority’s response to snow at the next meeting of its Policy Committee.

Mr Howlett is correct that the council considered only one item of expenditure at its last meeting. This was because there was just one such item on the agenda. Councillors did not additionally approve the purchase of new stockings for the Town Crier because these will be funded from the current robes and regalia revenue budget.

Finally, I should be pleased if Mr Howlett could let me have contact details for the tourists who ‘cannot believe the general sense of neglect, the lack of concern or care’. They have not made themselves known to me.

Richard Farhall

Rye Town Clerk

Town Hall, Rye,