Fresh calls to pedestrianise centre of Rye

West Street
West Street

AS parts of Rye’s historic citadel area continue to be damaged by vehicles some councillors say pedestrianisation could solve the problem.

Cobbles are being damaged and listed buildings in narrow West Street are being driven into.

One concerned resident contacted the council to say a property in West Street had been hit on four occasions in the past few months.

Planning committee chairman Bernardine Fiddimore said, at Monday’s meeting: “I saw four cars parked nose to bumper in West Street the other day while their owners queued to use the cash machine in the High Street.

“In the seven years I have been on the council, damage to cobble stones has always been an issue.

Cllr Jonathan Breeds said: “One way to make sure this doesn’t happen is to pedestrianise parts of Rye with resident access only.

“Vehicles are dislodging and ruining cobbles. They have lost their nice appearance and that is due to vehicles continually going over them.

“We could look at pedestrianising certain areas at weekends.

Town Clerk Richard Farhall pointed out that pedestrianisation is on the agenda of the Highways Forum group and that it may be an issue for them to take a closer look at.

Rye Mayor Cllr Shaun Rogers said: “As a driver and someone who pays road tax to drive a car, I would find it galling to start closing off parts of the town.

“There is a danger it would create an us and them situation between different parts of the town. If you are going to do this you should do it for every single car and not make an exception for residents.

Cllr Fiddimore said: “With an elderly population in Rye, that would be impossible.”

Cllr Rogers added: “I do agree that it could work in certain locations at weekends.

Mr Farhall said: “Brian Banks from county council highways department, sits on the local Highways Forum and is very knowledgeable about pedestrianisation.”