Are You Satisfield

— Yes, are you really happy and satisfied with the way our town of Rye is run ? Since the mid 1970s the decisions affecting our local life here have not been decided by Rye people, nor by our Town Councillors, but by Rother District Council and East Sussex County Council.

So ask yourself —- Do the majority of RDC Councillors, who are Bexhill orientated, and the majority of ESCC councillors, who meet in Lewes, really know or care much about little old Rye at the eastern extreme of their areas of control ? Rother District Council certainly know of the great income generated for their use by the car parking fees in this area (£250,000 per year, give or take) … and, of course they recently actually allowed us – was it £8000 ? – for new shelters in Station Approach (which, owing to their design, have not really sheltered people from either the rain or wind). They calmly accepted their Cabinet’s decision to spend £5 million plus on Bexhill’s seafront, and have since kept quiet about all the criticism on what was actually done. (Have you seen the motor coach they now have balancing off the roof of the De La Warr Pavilion ? How much of our money went to pay for that, one way or another ?)

For many years we’d been asking ESCC to make our Deadman’s Lane a safe one-way road into the town, and repeatedly Keith Glazier’s only response was negative, as the great cost of the necessary work would be prohibitive. Then suddenly appeared news that it was being done …the notices, poles, & lights were installed …and the ‘County’ claimed great credit for doing it for us !

Our great old Landgate Arch has always been totally ignored by ‘the authorities’, apart from RDC having display lighting inset into the pavements below – lights which have never really worked ! Those larger vehicles which have been an increasing problem trying to negotiate our totally unsuited narrow ways have, time after time, damaged the fabric of the Arch, and it’s taken the roadway authorities (ESCC) years to even supply ‘improved’ signs warning drivers of the limited width ahead. Would you agree that those new signs are no more effective than previously ? We’ve certainly still had coaches getting stuck under the arch, and needing police control to back out all the way down Landgate – yes, more stonework gets damaged, and traffic jams up all around the town !

After building a new Primary School in an inappropriate campus (the school is already over-subscribed, and has no room for expansion), two very good existing schools were closed so East Sussex could sell the sites for financial gain. And why did it take ESCC three years to at last grudgingly allow the residents of Tilling Green use of that fine Infants School as a Community Centre ? It could have been made available to them immediately ! Oh yes – and why were the electricity & gas installations ripped out at that closure – not just made safe until again required ?

The farcical and frightening situation at Ferry Road ‘Lower School Site’ from which our Education Authority cleared the buildings and then kept it derelict for fourteen years before announcing its sale to a supermarket chain – even though reserved for needed housing from many years ago – was then capped by our Planning Authority (yes, Rother again !) excelling themselves by granting simultaneous planning permission to two supermarket chains, all in one morning of monstrous madness!!

Most of us have admired the fight by our allotments holders & Town Councillors, to prove to RDC that the town allotments are legally the property of the town through statutory declaration, but the district council still clings to them and charges us in our rates for their maintenance & management – yes, whilst doing nothing at all for these sites !

It’s the same situation with the town’s road-ways, pavements, & public toilets – with nothing ever being done to improve their sad state, in spite of years of complaints and a continually deteriorating & more dangerous situation. RDC had managed to make secure some areas in our old world cobbled streets, but only by embedding those loose cobbles in cement – not a thought about overall appearance and the future care ! That work then stopped, because some more cobbles were needed and they had no idea where to get them. If we’d been free to deal with this whole problem, local men would have been employed to reinstate those areas sympathetically, using the correct materials, and getting more cobbles from their old place of origin, that is in the sea at the mouth of our River Rother !!!! A small matter ? Yes, but very relevant to our feeling of utter helplessness in the care of our town for our people & visitors.

Sadly, I frequently visit our Rye Cemetery, to feel even worse when gazing at the results of the couldn’tcare- less manner in which the resting place of our loved ones is ‘maintained’.

Yes, you are right – that is another RDC area of responsibility, as is, of course, the Cemetery in Bexhill. When over that way recently, I made a detour to find itit Page Eleven and compare – utterly different, everything as it should be, grass carefully cut with the cuttings taken away, neat pathways properly marked to find your way, and so on. So, why should our lovely site on top of Rye Hill be so different? Also, you may know, it is practically fully used by now but RDC are doing nothing to make available the huge area above the Garden of Remembrance. Yes, I know that when there was a Workhouse nearby, this ‘field’ (all part of the Cemetery) was partly used for their unmarked graves. With the remarkable advances in technology, this area could have been surveyed years ago to work out what would be required to enable modern usage as the main area becomes incapable of further burials.

Have RDC bothered, and looked ahead ? Have they ? No !!!

There is, of course, one great area of satisfaction and pleasure for us all in the wonderful and successful fight by the Fletcher Group, the Church, and the Town Council, to keep the land and buildings of the F. E. Centre in our possession, instead of being sold for luxury housing by its ‘owners’…the Hastings South Coast College !! Do you remember their Principal’s contemptuous comment to a meeting with Rye people…? …“There’s nothing you can do – it’s done and dusted !” (When she found out that Rye people could and did do something, that business woman disappeared northwards to another job !) Yes, that site was ours, bequeathed to the people of Rye for our educational purposes, by the Meryon family in the 1800s, and, thanks be, it’s now been preserved for us – though we’ve had to buy it back at great cost. Buy back our own property??

!! As well as all these, there are other similar important features of our local life which should be discussed, planned, and organised locally, by Rye people, for Rye people and our visitors —for the future of our lovely little town !


That’s what Neighbourhood Planning is all about, getting us local people together to hear & discuss & agree just what we want in our neighbourhood. We desperately need a Neighbourhood Plan that will give some legal backing to our wishes and decisions.


John Howlett – Chairman

Alan Bolden Vice Chairman




In a wonderful turn of events both Friends Of Rye Wurlitzer & Rye Wurlitzer Association have been receiving magnificent support from Adams of Rye in recent months.

For those who know the history of Rye Wurlitzer, will remember that Clifford Foster and music teacher Bill May brought and installed the Wurlitzer from London to Rye more than 30 years ago. For over 20 years Clifford put what spare time he had into maintaining the Wurlitzer.

Now, all these years later his two grand children, James and Charlotte are enjoying tuition on the Rye Wurlitzer and in another kind gesture of support, Adams have produced some quite magnificent concert programmes for the three Spring events and produced the latest newsletter in colour.

The Association Wurlitzer is indebted to Clifford and Ian at Adams of Rye for all their support over the years.


The Rye Rotary Club Annual Sponsored has proved another resounding success for FORW. Team Wurlitzer consisted of Malcolm & Sue Turk, Michael Hoad and his granddaughter Emma Janet Sherwood and her grandson Axal along with Richard Moore.

Members and supporters sponsored the group well, particularly Janet who won the Individual Award, Blade won the Junior award (raising £100) and FORW won the overall award for collecting the most money. Barclays Bank match funded the group.

The next challenge is for Malcolm Turk, doing a “flying solo”, not in the air, but, on his bike. On October 14th he takes part in the 25 kilometre Bike Ride to Lydd and back organised by the Rye Rotary Club. Do support him if you are able. Thank you.




How can our year be complete without this legend of music and mirth




The Maestro himself for a very special Christmas Concert

From the October 2012

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