Rye’s shabby landmark wall is real ‘disgrace’

Rye M Wall
Rye M Wall

A LANDMARK wall built in Rye to celebrate the Millennium has been allowed to get into a disgraceful state says Rye and Rother councillor Sam Souster.

The wall was the brainchild of Rye artist Ron Dellar who came up with the innovative concept of curving the brickwork to resemble the shape of a boat and creating the distinctive ‘Spirit of Rye’ image to resemble a ship’s figure-head.

The wall replaced an unsightly rubbish strewn chainlink fence on land at Winchelsea Road, by the River Tillingham, owned by Transco.

But now the wall itself is in danger of becoming an eye-sore with weeds sprouting from the brickwork and graffiti artists targeting it.

Cllr Souster said: “It is disgraceful that the Millennium Wall has been allowed to get into that state. A lot of work went into creating it, now the brickwork has been damaged and there are weeds growing out of the top of it.

“This is a landmark which sits at the western gateway of the town and is seen by everyone coming in. It creates a bad first impression of the town and is in bad need of a clean-up and restoration.”

Now it looks as though the wall is set to get the face-lift it badly needs.

Southern Gas Network contractors have agreed to remove graffiti and weeds growing from the top of the wall on the condition that Rye Town Council cleans the brass plaque.

Southern Gas Networks also want to transfer the ownership of the wall to Rye Town Council, a move that the council has agreed in principal to accept.

A local building company has also offered to undertake remedial repair work on the wall without charge.

And some of the repair work could be carried out by young people in Rye as Rye Harbour based Entertainment Workshop has indicated that it would like its building students to be involved in maintaining the wall.

There are also plans to cap the wall to help preserve it and protect it from weed growth.

Rye Town Clerk Richard Farhall said: “The maintenance cost to the Town Council in accepting ownership of the wall has not been quantified in the past as the wall was relatively new and in generally good condition.

“Capping the wall would minimise future maintenance work.

“The wall is a community asset and the maintenance costs are likely to be low.”

Ron Della, who created the wall, said: “I am concerned about its condition and general air of neglect.”

Cllr Jo Kirkham said the wall was in an important spot as it was where day labourers lined up to get chosen for work.