By Jim Hollands
Ex Motor racing driver Rod Chapman is leading the race to get Rye back into work and out of the recession.
His Atlas Business Park on Rye Harbour Road and the vast Rye Wharf site and accompanying facilities and ground contain dozens of local businesses providing work for hundreds of local people at Rye Harbour.
Rod is continually extending the facilities and providing more and more modern units suitable for all manner of trades. Rye MP, Amber Rudd has supported Rod’s efforts since being elected to Parliament in the 2010 General Election and was at Rye Harbour for a reception to celebrate the opening of eight more units on the Rastrum Site.
Many prominent local business people, representing firms associated from both sites, and local personalities were present for the occasion. The new units, known as the ‘Sand Martins Units’, more than half of which are let already, are modern constructions with an amazing insulation system that keeps them warm in winter and cool in the summer months.
Rod Chapman told me that there were plans afoot for erecting more work units adjacent to the ones just completed. These were being held up by environmental objections but hopes are strong that, with the help of the local MP, a compromise can be reached and the buildings, that would create many more jobs on the site, can be constructed in the very near future.
At the same time as the reception was going on, the largest carge ship ever to come to the Wharf was unloading its cargo. The 2,500 tonne ‘Countess Anna’ was able to get into Rye due to the work of John Blight and his amazing suction dredger. He dredged a large turning circle to allow the massive merchantman enough room to be turned round in the river. John has worked on the area many times, allowing larger and larger vessels to come into Rye.
I know Rod Chapman pretty well through “Rye’s Own” and have admired his efforts to put in more and more features to help local business on both the Atlas and Rastrum sites. Many people have ‘bent my ear’ telling of how he helped them in the early days of their business ventures and I was struck by the genuine way that one gentleman told me he should be awarded the MBE for his efforts for Rye. I do not disassociate myself with that idea, indeed, I can think of many less worthy people that have gained the honour.
From April 2013 issue of “Rye’s Own”