Lucky Rye – But for How Long?

Rother District Council  and East Sussex County Council Should Stop this Happening to Rye

The terrible flooding in Cumbria has brought misery to the people of many beautiful towns in the area. Storm ‘Desmond’ dropped a months worth of rain in 24 hours and has devastated the area.

Flooding at Mason Road was a regular occurance
Flooding at Mason Road was a regular occurrence

As many readers know, I have long held the view that

Marley Road is the first place to be flooded when there is a problem with the Tillingham Pump
Marley Road is the first place to be flooded when there is a problem with the Tillingham Pump

Tilling Green is living on borrowed time when it comes to flooding unless something is done.


The building of new homes on the Community Centre (Old Primary School Site) is utter madness. This was always the wettest part when the whole area was farmland.  There were ponds here surrounded by wet marsh (probably the lowest level in the whole of Rye). These will be just more homes that will join the 1000 plus in Rye that are already on the ‘flood warning list’

The 'Soak' Field where Valley Park stands today
The ‘Soak’ Field where Valley Park stands today

Now there are houses on the bank behind (Valley Park), which was a ‘sponge field’ that absorbed the water before it got to Tilling Green, the danger has been exacerbated.  All very well saying there is a ‘basin’ newly constructed to take extra water, but if Rye was subjected to a storm that only dropped a quarter the level in 24 hours than was experienced in Cumbria, would it not be overcome? Add to that a serious rain storm would fill the Tillingham River, raising the threat level of the bank on the Tilling Green side being overcome, especially if the river ‘peaked’ when the tide was up on the Strand side of the Sluice.

Water flows over the Sluice Gates in Winchelsea Road on an unexpected High Tide in 1966
Water flows over the Sluice Gates in Winchelsea Road on an unexpected High Tide in 1966

There are two things that could be done at this time to reduce the risk of a disaster. One, stop the building on the Community Centre Site, leave it as a Community Centre, Recreation and Sporting area, and two, dredge the mud from the river bed and use it to build up the banks of the Tillingham as used to be done in the days of the Catchment Board.

Unfortunately money seems to be more important than the well-being and safety of the people of Rye. Cash wins out over common sense every time.

In Response to this Report, Peter Sherwood wrote this comment -Direct from Cumbria :-

Just read your special report and it was nice to see that someone outside the county of cumbria is thinking of us, unlike the government and local authority who seem to think ‘ out of sight, out of mind ‘

Just to clarify cumbria had fifteen and a half inches of rain in 24 hours which is unfortunately a new English record, the environment agency in its dubious wisdom stopped dredging the rivers and waterways about 10 years ago which directly caused the floods of 2009 resulting in billions of pounds worth of damage and loss of life, it took almost 6 years to finish repairing all the damage caused and for the last 6 years the EA have been adamant that the lack of dredging was not a factor in the flooding and refused once again to dredge and guess what it has all happened again and what makes it even worse it is the people who suffered so badly in 2009 who are suffering again!

I wonder if anyone will actually listen to the people who know what is causing the problem instead of listening to some faceless know it all with a few letters after his name who doesn’t even know where cumbria is, so all I can say to the people of tilling green and Rye as a whole is keep shouting as loud as you can until someone actually listens and I hope you never experience what we in cumbria are going through again.

Peter Sherwood


“Rye’s Own” Bulletin Sunday 6 December 2015

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