By The Editor
The Lowest Ebb
The New Year is a time for reflection and taking stock but as I look around Rye I am seeing things that make me sad when I remember the days of past glory that this town has enjoyed.
I don’t envy members of Rye Town Council who have no powers but still have to face the criticism of both public and press when things go wrong in the town.
I feel sorry for our shop keepers who were once the pillar of the town’s success and prosperity. Now they are struggling to keep their businesses running and offer a balanced service to the people who still shop in the town.
I was more than dejected to see Rye High Street without its strings of colourful seasonal lights and felt despair when Father Christmas accompanied by the Bonfire Dragon and Drum Band arrived at the George Hotel to be greeted by a large crowd of shoppers and children holding their yellow balloons, this was the moment that a celebrity would come forward and trip the switch that turned on the illuminations and announced the start of Rye Christmas Late Night Shopping. Not this year, John Izod nipped into the George and turned on the Christmas Tree lights, but that was it, and anti-climax for all concerned. There were better illuminations decorating houses on Tilling Green Estate.
I feel sorry for our pensioners, especially those on their own and not in the best of health, who have lost the strength of the extended family and have to rely on meals on wheels and social workers. They lead lonely lives. Once they would have talked to their neighbour over the garden fence but now next door is more than likely a holiday home, empty during the weekdays and often for many months during the winter.
I am concerned that a section of our very young people are involved in cigarettes and alcohol, they seem to lack sensible guidance and ambition wandering around the streets. There are too many cases of unprovoked attacks on innocent subjects, especially worrying is the intimidation and actual attacks on visiting French and German students, some making the headlines but many of which went unreported.
I despair at the actions of Rother District Council, but on attending a recent meeting at the grand council chamber in Bexhill I now understand why their decisions are so appalling. One Councillor stood up and explained that he was “against splitting the District as has happened at Eastleigh but knew nothing of the Eastliegh plan as he had not been at the meeting where a seminar on the subject took place”. The standard of the debate, except for the clear direction and stand that Councillor Sue Projack took, was abysmal, Rye Councillors, whom I have criticised for lack of direction in the past, are brilliant compared to this lot if this debate was anything to go by.
I am sorry to see Rye & Iden United at the foot of Sussex County League One after their second place of last year. Their main source of funding has gone so many players that were given incentives have also gone, leaving the Club with young players, who have no experience in the tough top league, being thrown into the fray.
What will 2006 hold? I do feel Rye has actually passed its lowest ebb, there are many encouraging signs.
The Police Community Support Officers have made a terrific difference in the town. Dan Bevan, the high profile PCSO, has made himself known to everyone. He regularly patrols the town on his special police pedal cycle. The youngsters know him and respect him. He takes an interest in community projects and has been at the forefront of getting the Skateboard facility operating. He runs a ‘surgery’ for those wishing to ask him about police related subjects and he has taken particular interest in the welfare of the senior citizens in Rye, many of whom have fine words to say about him.
There is to be a meeting in January inviting all those interested in getting proper Christmas lighting in the town for 2006. Chamber Chairman Sara Nixon asks for those that have criticised to come along to the Town Hall on 26 January at 6pm. and give their ideas on what can be done.
I am especially pleased to report that the Campaign for Democracy in Rye group received terrific support at a meeting in the Community Centre in November and are pursuing Rother District Council in an effort to get the District split into three Area Councils. This may bring some power and control back to Rye Town Hall.
The Environmental Agency is well advanced with building the new flood protection walls and, as far as the Rock Channel area at any rate, have made a tidy and impressive job of the work. The completion of the entire flood wall improvement will make the lower areas of Rye safer as the expected higher tides, caused by climate change, raise future spring and autumn tides to record levels.
The completion of the new flood defences may also denote the start of a new house building spree in the Rock Channel area and other ‘flood risk’ sites. This may well include the Ferry Road School site.
On the sporting side Rye & Iden United are planning to show more interest in the promotion of junior and youth soccer in Rye & District. Rye Rugby Club, who already have a very keen junior section are racing away with plans for their new Club House and may be interested in promoting other sporting events on their ground
. Rye & District Wheelers are promoting 14 time trials during the summer, taking over the events from the Tenterden Club which recently disbanded. Eight of the Tenterden members have joined the Wheelers and will strengthen their racing team in Open events and enrich competition Rye’s six throughout the coming season.It may be that 2006 sees the start of a great revival in the fortunes of this Ancient Town with its nine hundred year history. It still retains its unique beauty that attracts visitors from all over the world. Let us all pull in the same direction to see that Rye regains a proper say in it’s own affairs
“Rye’s Own” January 2006
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