Rye M.P. Michael Foster revealed at a meeting aimed at stopping the giant retail chain Tesco from coming to Rye that “It’s a done deal” and there is very little that can be done to prevent a large store being built on the Ferry Road old Primary School site unless Rother District Council refuses planning permission. Even then Tesco could appeal to the Secretary for State who has the power to over ride the local refusal.
There were noisy exchanges when a section of the 300 who attended voiced their view that Tesco’s would bring work to the town as well as cheaper shopping. Greg Barker M.P. for Bexhilland Battle went to great extremes to explain how a large Tesco store would damage the small businesses of not only Rye but the surrounding villages. Tesco’s had turned many small communities into “Ghost Towns” he claimed. “Jobs would show a net loss”.
Christopher Strangeways, initiator of the Rye Farmer’s Market, told the packed crowd that food production in this country had dropped to just a fraction of it’s output of even ten years ago. It was private retailers like Jempsons of Peasmarsh, other local shops and the Farmer’s Market who were had encouraging local produce. Big supermarkets buy from all over the world, local producers are left in the cold. A Tesco’s in Rye might mean the end to local shops, Farmer’s Market and farmers.
In a press statement put out before the meeting, CROSS (Campaign of residents opposing a second supermarket) the Tesco’s move on Rye was described as part of that companies plan to build a Tesco Store within seven miles of each and every one of us in the nation.
“The world renowned ancient market town of Rye in East Sussex, is the latest town to be selected for this once in a lifetime offer of total destruction of the local economy.
The East Sussex County Council is proposing to sell school land to Tesco whilst using adjoining school playing field land to build a new primary school. The school roll has been falling but the Government’s house building program for the area will mean that the school will almost certainly be too small within a few years.
The deal with the ESCC cannot be achieved until the access to the plot has been secured. Guess who owns part of the access way? Network Rail! Tesco has an option to buy this land along with an option to buy the adjoining land.
The road is narrow, two way, next to a level crossing and opposite the Fire Station.
Although Tesco have not yet sought planning permission for the site they have confirmed that the store will be larger than the existing Budgens supermarket in Rye”
There were several queries from members of the public as to why East Sussex County Council were selling off public land to business interests. Indeed this seemed to be the thrust of voices from the floor.
What is really going on?
The villain behind all this is MONEY. East Sussex County Council have no moral right whatsoever to be selling off a parcel of public ground that was required for a Doctor’s Surgery, a Public Library, F.E. Classes, a safe route through the town for cyclists and pedestrians and as a recreational area.
Fact. When the School vacated the Ferry Road buildings they were in a fine state of repair and were ready made for public use.
Fact. East Sussex County Council watched the buildings being vandalised and then bulldozed them and cleared the site.
Fact. Peter Jones announced that the ground was going to be used for “AFFORDABLE HOUSING”.
Fact. Behind the scenes East Sussex County Council were looking for the highest bidder for public land.
Fact. A deal was struck with Tesco’s behind closed doors at the very same time as East Sussex were planning to use the sports field at the Thomas Peacocke to build a new Primary School and close Tilling Green and Freda Gardham.
This means they will have two more public sites belonging to Rye. Do they plan to sell off more of the family silver?
From “Rye’s Own “ October 2005
All articles, photographs and drawings on this web site are World Copyright Protected. No reproduction for publication without prior arrangement.