Rye bay watch

As a past Chair of the Rye & District Chamber of Commerce I would like to respond to comments attributed to Mr Izod in last week’s article “Council thinks again on plans for loading bay” about the Chamber. He is, of course, entitled to his view but it is unfair to single out one organisation within The Highways Forum for criticism and to belittle the efforts made by Chamber members throughout the year. His comments also appear to show a lack of understanding of the bay proposal.

Rye Town Council established the Highways Forum. It is made up of East Sussex County Council, Rye Town Council, The Police, Rye & District Chamber of Commerce, Rye Community Transport and Rye Conservation Society. Rye Town Council asked the Forum to look into a proposal for one loading bay in the High Street. The main objective of the proposal was to prevent serious injury, or worse, in Lion Street caused by deliveries to The George (they having chosen to convert their own delivery/parking facility into a restaurant) by providing a loading/unloading bay, funded by taxpayers’ money, in the central High Street for use by any business; this area having been identified as having the most congestion. The Forum took advice from Highways officers and the Police to devise a workable and enforceable scheme with considerable time being spent on deliberations before making the sound, reasoned and unanimous recommendation to Rye Town Council of the current loading bay proposal.

The Chamber has approximately 85 members drawn from Rye and the surrounding district; it is not compulsory to be a member or to attend the regular monthly meetings. I doubt if attendance at Rye’s meetings is any better or worse than any of the network of nationally recognized Chambers of Commerce. Members are invited to send in their views if they are unable to attend meeting and are fully informed, by circulation of Minutes, of decisions made.

Chamber involvement, mainly through members’ volunteer time, includes:

The Rye Bay Scallop Festival, initiated by past Chair Kate Hemmings, is currently run very successfully for the benefit of the whole town, especially catering establishments, by a Chamber member.

Cardboard recycling exceeds 313,000 kg. This facility has saved member businesses individually hundreds and jointly thousands of pounds in waste disposal over the last 8 years. It also offered recycling to residents when the council provided none. Income from cardboard recycling is invested in town projects.

The Chamber’s Green Fund financially contributes to Rye in Bloom

The Chamber supported and donated funds to last year’s Maritime Festival when in danger of being cancelled.

The Chamber has input to the Rye Town Guide, is represented on the Police Priority Panel for the town and the Highways Forum.

The Chamber has consistently supported the idea that erosion of High Street parking would be bad for all businesses in Rye and have an impact on residential use.

The Chamber gave written support for grant funding (circa £12,000) as part of their refurbishment when requested to do so by the current owners of The George.

The diverse nature of Rye’s businesses (retail, accommodation & catering establishments) combined with its heritage gives it its unique attraction. We are all interdependent, Rye is not reliant on any one business.

Sara Nixon; Past Chair Rye and District Chamber of Commerce