I suspect that I am one of the few Rye residents to actually return their neighbourhood plan survey bearing in mind that it is the holiday season, World Cup etc.
I was disappointed with the questions and felt particularly that the two elephants in the room; Supermarket and A259 Rye Harbour Link Road (By-Pass) had not been addressed at all.
In fact I have serious concerns about the way the Neighbourhood Plan is being run. A long time ago when I first did Councillor Training on planning, the presenter started off by saying that ‘Planning is all about turning blades of grass into pound notes’. How many of our Councillors have completed Planning Training?
Elected Councillors are bound by the ‘Probity in Planning’ regulations and should they be found not to have declared pecuniary interests – pay the consequences. However, this process involves the public and organisations who do not have to declare pecuniary interests. The Council could require them to do so although of course the non-Councillors would face no penalties.
Rye Town Council is up for election in only eight months time and it is rumoured that between a third and half the Council are not seeking re-election, also attendance is poor. Therefore their enthusiasm is limited and indeed they are allowing the project to be led by a non-Councillor who, as far as I know, has no planning training or experience.
This glossy survey, and I have difficulty in working out how the questions were compiled, has been distributed all over Rye and beyond. Anyone can fill it out, or as many as they want. You don’t have to put your name and address. A cynical view would be that a number of very similar replies would come from unnamed individuals or organisations with their own agendas.
My best suggestion would be that Rye Town Council suspend this process at least until all Councillors have had planning training after the May 2015 election and then they will be qualified and hopefully committed to lead it.
Yes, I do have serious concerns and so should all of us.
Paul Carey, Lea Avenue, Rye.