ROTHER should hand back the town’s allotments before asking Rye tax payers to contribute to the costs of repairing the crumbling Gun Garden.
That is view of local councillors who say the district council should pay the costs as they own the land.
Cracks have started appearing in the historic monument and there are fears that if action is not taken now it could result in a dangerous landslide across the busy A259 below the Gun Garden.
It will cost an estimated £45,485 alone just to investigate the problem.
Rother asked Rye Town Council for a contribution but councillors were reluctant, saying it was difficult to understand how Rother could expect the Town Council to respond favourably when it still insisted on hanging on to the ownership of Rye’s two allotment sites at South Undercliff and Love Lane.
But the council said it would maintain a working relationship with Rother and said it was important that any closure of the Gun Garden on safety grounds be kept to the shortest time possible.
The Town Council said that given the serious ramifications of a landslip, it may be that the Department of Transport would consider assisting Rother with the £45,458 cost of the investigation.
Rother also came under fire for not maintaining the lower slope adequately.
Councillors said trees are encroaching onto high sided vehicles using the A259.
A meeting will now take place between Rother and Rye Town councils to discuss areas of co-operation.
Cllr Granville Bantick said: “It does not take too much imagination of the chaos and the danger to the public if the cliff did collapse on to the A259.
“It is not the first time that the danger has been noticed for, as has been reported, there was a landslip some years ago which caused the cottages in Fishmarket Road to be evacuated.
“The cost of shoring up the cliff then was prohibitive.
“The geological assessment commissioned by Rother District Council undertaken by a structural engineer has shown a definite degradation of the cliffs that had been buried over centuries of beach deposits.
“It is considered a very steep slope which has contributed to the earth movement and caused the cracks along the top of the slope.
“The feeling of many is that as the land is owned by Rother any costs should be borne by them.”