The bombshell is about to burst on Rye. East Sussex County Council, aided by Rother District Council, have a plan for this town that will change it into another suburban sprawl.

If they get their way there will be a vast new Supermarket on either the Ferry Road School site or the Freda Gardham site in New Road. New houses will be built on any other available space and all the way from the Tilling Green School, which will also be demolished, right up the hill behind Udimore Road to a point opposite Cadborough Farm, where there will be a roundabout.

All Rye Schools will be crowded on the already overcrowded Thomas Peacocke site. Youngsters of five starting school will be subject to influences from an older generation of school goers and may well be bullied or pick up bad habits from boys and girls from older groups.

The burden of traffic on the now far to busy Ferry Road will increase tenfold if a giant Tesco store appears behind the Adelaide. Of course the Adelaide will not be there because this will be the entrance to the supermarket and new Primary School. The Adelaide is a listed building but no doubt, a way will be found round this obstacle.

These schemes have been dreamed up by County with little regard as to what Rye people want or need.

It seems they are more interested in making as much money selling off public grounds as they can, remember, once these properties have been sold they can never again be used for the good of the town and will be built over tightly and lost forever. In effect, they are selling off the family silver.

Yes, many will be tempted by a convenience store selling everything from food through chemistry to clothes, but they must surely consider what they are losing. There were far more local people employed by the shops in Rye until Budgens appeared on the scene. There were no less than twelve grocers – all gone now, three butchers – one remains and five newsagents – two left. It will be far worse if Tesco arrives. Many more established High Street shops will close their doors, Budgens themselves will be in a precarious position and Jempsons at Peasmarsh, a small grocers who took on the big chains and offer fine service, will feel the effect.

We remember what we were told before the Supermarket came to Rye. “Let them in and they will cut their prices till all opposition is gone – then they can charge what they want. Monopolies are bad news in small towns.”

Has this proved correct? You be the judge.

What are the reasons for County wanting to sell ground in Rye now? An easy one to answer, the housing boom has shot property prices soaring to new heights and nowhere more so than in Rye. Rye houses sell for very high prices because people want to own a house in our beautiful town – many want them as holiday or retirement homes. Prices here have attracted the property developers and speculators to Rye.

Changes up till now have been small in comparison with what is planned for the near future. Rye is worthy of better. We are a small compact Market Town, we do not want to see the outskirts packed with development that will result in our becoming a suburban scrawl. Look at what has happened to Ashford!

Ryers made a great show at the recent Doctor’s Surgery meeting where they discovered that all these things are connected. The protest must continue or the Rye we know will be ruined.

“Rye’s Own” makes no apologies for overstating the point. We feel that this town is under a greater threat now than at any time since Hitler’s troops stood across the Channel waiting to invade. We have learned in recent wars that ‘friendly fire’ can be just as deadly as that from an enemy.

From the June 2005 Issue of “Rye’s Own”

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