New Romney Cinque Port Status Threatened

Petition to the Government  – Update at foot of this post.

It was the Queen’s 90th. Birthday on Thursday (21 April) and beacon fires were lit all over the country, all over that is, except for New Romney.

The Real Marsh Watch Group on the internet went ballistic when it was discovered the New Romney Beacon cage had not been prepared.

David Wimble started the debate by posting

“Why has New Romney town council not arranged to light their beacon on the green. It’s not everyday that our monarch celebrates 90 years
Feeling that once again that some of the unelected town council are out of touch with the community they represent.
However they are happy to plaster the greens with notice boards and gym equipment that seems to just act as an extension to the kids play park… Well done Lydd for marking the event with an appropriate celebration at the pilot beacon lighting.

Empty Beacon
Empty Beacon

There was talk among New Romney people in the group of getting a ladder and filling it and doing the job themselves. A ladder was located and material to fill the basket, but in the event, the interested parties decided better of it and either went off to Lydd or Dymchurch and celebrated the Queen’s Birthday at their celebrations.

There were dozens of voices criticising New Romney Council for not celebrating the Queen’s Birthday by lighting the Beacon on The Greens. Mayor Patricia Rolfe was blamed by many.

Rose Stanley sprang to the Mayor’s defence,  claiming she had  “More important things to do than light a beacon”

This ignited the debate even further as reports of beacons being lit at Newchurch, Rye, Lydd. Dymchurch, Brenzett , Brookland and Folkestone made New Romney seemingly, to be the only place on The Marsh not having a Beacon Party.

David Wimble wondered  “Why as a Cinque Port when we  had a beacon donated to the town by Echo Engineering did we not light it?
You are not allowed to use the beacon without permission of the council, last time someone asked they gave up when they were told they needed a risk assessment”
On the council he claimed ” They are meant to serve the town.”

Recriminations followed on Friday, on and off the Real Marsh Group discussion page.

The upshot of the affair was for another group member, Nigel Brooks, has started an on-line petition to get New Romney’s Cinque Ports Head Town Status transferred to Lydd who had celebrated the Queen’s 90th. Birthday by Ringing the Church Bells, lighting the Beacon and having a Party.

The Petition
“Revoke the Cinque Port status of New Romney

On April 21, 2016 Her Majesty Elizabeth the Second celebrated her 90th birthday. Various communities throughout the land celebrated Her Majesty’s birthday by lighting beacons.

Amongst those communities were Lydd, a confederate member of the Cinque Ports. New Romney, the port to which Lydd is confederated did not light a beacon in celebration. This petition is to request that Her Majesty’s government revoke New Romneys status and assign it to Lydd.”

Update from    Jeff Phipps           24 April 2016

It was very unfortunate that the New Romney beacon wasn’t lit, but unfortunately, the Town clerk was off work due to prolonged sickness around the time the necessary red tape was required to submitted e.g. Formal detailed application to Shepway District Council, Co-ordinating the police, ambulance, coast guard, fire service and all the risk assessments now legally necessary under EU health and safety regulations.

In real life, unpredictable things happen and due to the Town Clerk being off sick, this placed a heavy work load on the other already pressed Town Council staff causing the beacon lighting application submission time to be missed.

It is not legally possible to simply go ahead ad hoc and light the beacon. New Romney Town Council has never missed a Beacon Lighting before, and contrary to the baying hounds comments, its Councillors and staff, strive to serve its residents conscientiously.

New Romney Town Council has put plans in place for a commemorative open air Sunday afternoon concert, to take place on the weekend of the Queen’s official birthday, so the Town Council will, ensure that the Town celebrates this special anniversary.

“Cinque Ports” Bulletin 23 April 2016

All articles, photographs, films and drawings on this web site are World Copyright Protected. No reproduction for publication without prior arrangement.  © World Copyright 2015 Cinque Ports Magazines Rye Ltd., Guinea Hall Lodge Sellindge TN25 6EG