Action at last to improve Rye’s historic Arch

2/1/14- Rye.  The Landgate Arch ENGSUS00120140201141544
2/1/14- Rye. The Landgate Arch ENGSUS00120140201141544

An iconic Rye landmark is to finally get some love and care from Rother District Council.

The neglected state of the Landgate Arch has caused an outcry in Rye with Rye Town Councillor Mary Smith issuing a freedom of information request to ascertain how much Rother has spent on maintaining the historic structure in recent years.

Rye Conservation Society also has concerns about the arch and is applying to English Heritage to have the monument placed on a national at risk register for listed buildings.

The iconic monument, which dates from 1340, is roofless with a clock that doesn’t work and broken lighting.

Now Rother has announced a survey and clean-up of the famous structure.

A special cleaning operation was scheduled for mid December but has been postponed until January at the request of the Rye Mayor so the work did not interfere with Christmas shopping in the town.

It is understood that Rother Council will begin a tendering process for a specialist architectural survey of the arch.

The cleaning process will take place first to remove bird droppings before the survey gets underway.

It is expected the survey will be completed by early spring.

Rye Mayor Cllr Bernardine Fiddimore, has said she want to form a ‘Friends of the Arch group to help raise funds for the restoration and to replace the broken clock and floodlights which have never worked.

She said: “If we want to save the one remaining town gateway we have to do it ourselves. The town had to reach out to fans of the famous arch all over the world. To ask all those who admired it, photographed it, loved it, to be real friends.”

The friends would be a group dedicated to raising sponsorship. The Mayor also suggested the possibility of a town lottery to support the tower.

Her ideas gained support from the Town Council.