At last Monday’s (24 November) meeting of the Planning and Townscape Committee at the Town Hall, Councillor Mary Smith (CDR group member) pressed for the Council to hold an urgent public meeting on the “Core Strategy Plan” for Rye.
Councillor Smith told the meeting that at a meeting organised by Rother an official of the District Council had told her that they were ‘amazed’ that Rye Town Council had not submitted its own suggestions months ago. A plan for Rye has been prepared by Rother with no input from the Town Council.
The Chaiman noted the Councillors concern and was about to move onto the next item on the agenda when an unprecedented and articulate intervention from the public gallery by Christopher Strangeways forced a reaction from the Town Clerk.
Mr. Strangeways pleaded for the Committee to call a Public Meeting forthwith as the deadline for submitting an overall plan was January 30. “The public and other organisations in the town should be allowed to have their say in this most important series of changes the Town outlined for Rye’s future. Time is short, a meeting for early January is essential”.
Protocol ruled the day. Town Clerk Richard Farhall said the subject must be on the agenda before it could be considered. He felt the Council would be sympathetic to the idea but it would have to go before the next meeting in two weeks time.
Christopher Strangeways intervened again and begged the meeting to take this last opportunity to take an initiative to call a meeting and lead the Town even at this eleventh hour.
Councillor David Wright suggested that the Campaign for a Democratic Rye Group might step into the breach and arrange a Public Meeting. Mr. Strangeways thought the Chamber of Commerce might support the idea.
After the meeting CDR contacted the Chamber of Commerce and other groups within the town and the upshot was, by 10am. on the following morning no less than six important groupings in the town had combined to arrange what will probably be one of the largest and almost certainly, most important meetings, of the decade.
Its In Their Hands
The six groups combining to put on the meeting are the Chamber of Trade; Conservation Society; Emlag (the Marsh Link Railway Group); Campaign for a Democratic Rye group; Hotcats and The Rye Library Association.
This meeting, for which the venue and early January date are being arranged as we go to press, will give every organisation and individual in Rye the chance of questioning the lady from Rother who has the responsibility of putting the whole stratagy together, and of suggesting large and small changes ommitions and introductions to the plan.
Rother will provide all the detail and help, they are keen to stress they need the help and support of the people of Rye. This will be the main chance to learn what is being proposed for our town and of having a meaningful say in what you or your organisation would like to see included in the plan.
It is inexcusable that Rye Town Council have dragged their feet over this issue for many months. Battle had their Town Plan ready over a year ago. Almost every village in the District have completed their plans and in almost every case the public views of the areas were included in the plans. It is only Rye Town Council who have not produced, they did very little work on their scheme until after the master plan for Rye had been presented by Rother. Except for an excellent presentation put on by Rother at the Lion Street School in November, very little has filtered out to the people of this town.
Look out for the public meeting in early January, it may be your only chance to get any say on the future of Rye.
“Rye’s Own”December 2008
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