THE ROTHER Environmental Group (REG) has launched exciting and ambitious new plans for a ‘greenway’ running through Rye which would provide a safe, shared route for pedestrians, cyclists, pushchair users and the less able between key trip attractions.
The Rye Greenway plan envisages a 1.5 kilometre route running from Valley Park at its western end, through the Tilling Green estate, and then connecting to sports and educational facilities on the other side of the River Tillingham by means of a new bridge. If the proposed supermaket ever comes to fruition, then this would also link into thegreenway.
The proposal has been met with an enthusiastic response from community leaders, resident and community groups, the sports centre, and both the schools involved.
“This is a fantastic opportunity to create a safe route to encourage families, children, and people of all ages to walk and cycle more on their daily journeys”, said Nick Hanna, who developed the proposal on behalf of the Rother Environment Group. “It will also make easier for young parents with pushchairs, or those using moblility scooters, to access shops and other facilities”.
The cost of the project is estimated at around £120,000. “This is incredible value for money to create a route which is just under a mile long but which meets so many needs within the local community”, said Mr Hanna.
Bernard Thompson, Business Manager at Rye College, said: “We strongly support any moves that improve the safety of our students travelling to and from school and promote healthy and sustainable methods of travel. We believe this is a thoroughly worthwhile project, excellent value for money and one that will do much to improve the lifestyle of our students. We therefore add our support to the Rye Greenway in full”.
Paul Reilly, headteacher at Rye Community Primary School, said “I believe it will be of huge benefit to the town, with improved safety for children. We are very interested in being part of this scheme”.
Amber Rudd, MP for Hastings & Rye, added that “I am aware from previous conversations with my constituents of the need for such a route for pedestrians and cyclists to enable them to access the important parts of town in ease and safety, protected from vehicular traffic. I therefore have no hesitation in giving my wholehearted support to this fantastic proposal which, if realised, would offer the community so many benefits”.
Philip Benton, manager at the Rye Sports Centre, believes that the greenway route will bring new users in to take part in sports and fitness activities. “We would be proud to be part of a Greenway which would increase access for a range of people to come and use our facilities”, he said. “Not only would it increase the people participating in activities at the Sports Centre but would also allow a new set of users to the centre that might not necessarily have come to us before”.
At their recent Annual General Meeting, the Tilling Green Residents Association (TGRA) committee resolved to fully support the Rye Greenway project. “TGRA feel that the route would be in the best interests of the residents of Tilling Green and Valley Park and provide a much needed, safer environmentally friendly alternative route to the schools, sports centre, town and beyond”, commented Brenda Smith on behalf of the residents association.
Chrissy Stower, chief executive of the Rye Partnership, said “This is exactly the sort of project that the Board wishes to support. It meets several of our own strategic objectives, including connecting the isolated communities of Tilling Green and Valley Park to the main town in a safe manner, and encouraging healthy living activities such as cycling and walking”.
The Rye Ramblers also added their support to the project. “I think it is a brilliant idea”, said Linda Graham on behalf of the Ramblers. “The Greenway can be seen as essential for getting young people independently out and about, young mothers and the elderly walking more and leading to healthier, less sedentary lifestyles”.
The greenway would meet numerous policy objectives as set out by East Sussex County Council for their Local Transport Plan (LTP3) and should also be considered as a priority for capital spending given that it is meets the criteria of ‘urban utility routes under 5km, especially where they provide safer routes to schools and other educational facilities, and routes from residential areas to key urban trip attractors’.
The scheme also scores highly under Rother District Council’s Local Development Framework Core Strategy, whose objectives for Rye include “to work with stakeholders to improve traffic management, tackle congestion and promote sustainable transport measures” and “to secure investment in community facilities and in new and/or improved pedestrian and cycle routes linking residents to their facilities”.
The study was funded by the Rother Environmental Group (REG) and the Little Cheyne Wind Farm Community Fund, through the Sussex Community Foundation. “The generous funding that made this project possible has been provided by RWE Renewables” said Christopher Strangeways. “They will continue to give £60,000 a year to local good causes for the lifetime of the Romney marsh wind farm – expected to be about 25 years. REG hopes that direct benefits of this kind will encourage more communities to welcome local renewable energy schemes in their back yard”.
Rye’s Own January 2013
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