Fears over the future of iconic Rye monument

John Bragge showing the new road sign at Landgate Arch, Rye. 6/6/11 ENGSNL00120110606112214
John Bragge showing the new road sign at Landgate Arch, Rye. 6/6/11 ENGSNL00120110606112214

Concerns have been raised that Rye’s historic Landgate Arch has suffered years of neglect at the hands of Rother Council.

Cllr Mary Smith has now submitted a Freedom of Information Request to ascertain what the district council has spent on the arch.

John Bragge, who runs an antiques shop opposite the arch, has reported damage to the council on numerous occasions.

He said: “This is one of the most photographed locations in the whole of Rye and yet it has been allowed to fall into disrepair.”

In a letter to Rye Town Clerk Richard Farhall, Alan Bolden, chairman of Campaign for a Democratic Rye, asked: “Has anyone visualised the chaos in our town if the arch was suddenly declared to be dangerous, or actually blocked ?”

Responding to a question from Cllr Mary Smith, Rye and Rother councillor Lord Ampthill said: “The budget available for all the district’s ancient monuments is very small: and there is a clear need for external funding for any major works which may prove necessary.

“Safe access to the arch is difficult without further restoration. Then there is the clock and floodlights to consider.”

Currently, the monument is allotted £2,000 a year by Rother from a total monuments budget of £8,000.

Rye Mayor Bernardine Fiddimore said: “Our Landgate faces an uncertain future. Rother District Council can provide an ever diminishing budget for the maintenance of ancient buildings district-wide and there is no prospect of an increase that could come near to restoring and maintaining the arch.

“Other ways need to be found to support and preserve it for the future. We need to appeal for help and reach those who truly treasure this unique building. Friends of the Landgate! There must be millions of them globally who will have visited Rye and walked beneath those stones. We need them now. Our Landgate needs its friends.”