They want to build houses on the fields to the north of Udimore Road. We asked John Breeds, who lives there, how such a development would affect Udimore Road in particular and Rye in general.
Townsfolk currently residing on the north side of Udimore Road, together with other Rye residents, visitors, or anyone who cares to walk to this spot have a breathtaking view of an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Houses halfway up would be most affected by the development. The land which would be built on is the field adjoining the houses.
One of things which strikes me as particularly stupid is that the fields beyond (north of) the proposed site is in the designated area of natural beauty, but the field in front isn’t.
If the area in front is developed for housing, how can the area immediately to the north still be an area of natural beauty with such an ‘eyesore’ next to it?
Apart from destroying the view for residents and others, the beauty of this area will also be polluted by noise, fumes and light both during construction and also when hundreds of new residents and their vehicles are installed!
Practical and Technical considerations
How can houses be built at all on such sloping land which forms a natural valley, has a substantial drainage ditch running through it, is wet and spongy even in dry weather and has a marsh at the bottom? There is very little water in the ditch at present after a dry spell, but in wet weather the ditch at the bottom of the slope has often become a torrent. How will the engineers ensure sufficient drainage, bearing in mind that we are forecast much wetter winters as a result of global warming? Are they going to incorporate a culvert or, more realistically, an enormous storm drain, or leave the ditch as a feature of the developments thus reducing the possible number of houses?
There is a large area of marsh land on the low ground. How is it proposed to drain it to make it into amenity land? Even if successful, how is it proposed to prevent future run off from the valley during heavy rain flooding the new housing, the housing in Cooper Road and Tilling Green School? The topsoil at present absorbs much of the precipitation and retards its drainage through into this area. Even so, if you view the site from the Old Brickyard end looking west, there is still a considerable quantity of water even in dry weather!
If the development goes ahead what provision is going to be made for making the necessary improvements to the infrastructure?
One hundred new houses would surely mean roughly 200 more adults, 200 more children and 200 more cars. The houses will require the usual services including a sensible system of roads footpaths, gas, electricity, water supply and, particularly drainage and sewerage. We will need more school and nursery school places, more doctors and better health care and shopping facilities.
Environmental and other moral considerations
The proposed development would destroy yet another important environmental area with a substantial patch of marsh land and all its accompanying wildlife and foraging area for badgers, which are regular visitors to the gardens bordering it. There are many badger runs on the field. Residents on the north side of Udimore Road have gates opening on to this field and have had access to it for almost 80 years. Is this now going to be denied?
If all the technical problems are surmounted and the development goes ahead, how are the residents going to be compensated for the loss of views, peace and quiet and use of the field?
Finally, it is stated that the housing is to be for local people. Up to 40% is supposed to be ‘social housing’. It could be compounding problems for current residents to build this social housing backing on to their existing houses.
If the social housing is managed by e.g. Rother Homes, how are they going to ensure that local people actually get the new houses and not ‘problem’ families relocated from other areas outside Rye (as had happened in the past) or asylum seekers?
Rye’s Own April 2003
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