Meeting calls for end to Rye supermarket dispute


RYE residents called for an end to the long-running deadlock between supermarket giants Tesco and Sainsburys at a public meeting.

The issue was one of the main concerns raised when around 100 people attended a meeting held by the Rye Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group at Tilling Green Community Centre.

The meeting was to discuss the future development of the town and how that will address the needs and requirements of local people.

More employment opportunities and better facilities for young people were also on the wish-list of those who attended.

The Neighbourhood Plan will cover all development within the Parish boundary for 15 years to 2028.

Many at the meeting asked about the dispute between Sainsbury and Tesco to build a supermarket at the former Lower School site.

District Councillor Lord Ampthill explained that several parties were pressing for a solution.

The Steering Group is also seeking a solution and is prepared to consider all alternatives to trigger the development.

The disposal of the Tilling Green old school was a hot topic. Anthony Kimber explained the process, in which East Sussex County Council, owner of the site, was seeking a community partner and a developer to make a proposal for a community facility and a number of dwellings by February 14.

County Councillor Keith Glazier, gave a reassurance there would be continuity of service at the community centre until the arrangements for the replacement facility is opened, but he warned that the development would take time to complete.

Vice Chair of the Steering Group, Colonel Anthony Kimber summarised progress and the latest thinking about sites, housing and business development and infrastructure.

He underscored the intention to enable the community to make a “strategic and coherent plan for Rye, of which our descendants would be content”.

In addition to housing - being considered by the Steering Group - there are four working groups tackling different themes: transport, business, infrastructure and environment. Mike Slavin of the last “popped up” to talk about proposals to start a Rye Energy company and asked for support for the venture.

When asked about the involvement of young people, Anthony Kimber explained that he had approached Rye College and the School Studio to seek student involvement. Principals Ann Cockerham and Jo Townshend had agreed and details were being worked up.

Other issues raised related to the Valley Park development, the future of Freda Gardham and the Strand area of Rye.

Concerns raised will be added to the Rye Neighbourhood Plan website which can be found at