The Most Important Meeting In Rye For Fifty Years

What is almost certainly the most important meeting to take place in Rye for fifty years is set to go ahead at the Thomas Peacocke College at 8pm on Thursday 16 August.

Every person living in Rye is invited, along with Councillors and District Councillors from Rye, Battle, Bexhill and the villages plus members of the Bexhill Forum to hear Eastleigh’s Council Leader Councillor Keith House outline the great benefits that Rye, Battle and Bexhill could derive from splitting Rother District Council into three parts, run by their own elected District Councillors with the direct assistance of their local Town and Village Councils.

Dr. Keith Taylor, as we remember him best. On the Town Hall steps
Dr. Keith Taylor, as we remember him best. On the Town Hall steps

The meeting has been arranged by the Democratic Rye group who have been advocating the change for the past two years. The Group have been highlighting the lack of local power and despairing of the projects that have and still are, being foisted on the town by outside powers and see the splitting up of the District Council as just the first step in bringing decisions back into the local domain. They say it is not what decisions that are made that count but who these decisions are made by.

Protest Marches the Only Response

Planning decisions for new Schools, Doctor’s Surgeries, Friary Centres, Medical treatment centres, Supermarkets and building projects should be made locally by people who know and understand the area and the need. Protests marches are the only real response that can be mounted against projects that are thrust upon Rye from outside sources.

The Group emphasise that the splitting of the District Council will not cover all spheres, but their own planning and financial control would be a very important start for all three areas.

Residents of Bexhill are just as concerned as those of Rye and Battle over the cash that has been waisted on the De La Warr Pavilion. Rye and Battle would be rid of the burden as soon as the areas are split and Bexhill, with a proper Town Council replacing the Forum would surely call a halt to the mad spending spiral that the District Council has indulged itself in.

The Democracy for Rye group have spent many months preparing a document explaining the benefits to be gained from splitting Rother District Council into three parts. Some councillors have tried to blight the

enthusiasm of the hard working group by saying their proposals are ‘illegal’. Councillor Keith Head of Eastleigh will put the lid on that line of argument and explain the benefits that Area Committees have had to his community since they chose to use that system over ten years ago. Eastleigh Borough Council is split five ways and all five areas enjoy a lower council tax, most by over £100 a year, than we pay here. Planning decisions are made ‘close to home’ by people who are known personally by the community. Local Town and Village Councils are an integral part of the system, many areas of local importance are delegated into their control.

“The Moment in History”

Dr. Keith Taylor Joint Chairman of the Democratic Rye group emphasises the importance of the meeting by explaining that “This could be the moment in history that Ryers will look back upon as the time the ‘corner was turned’.

From being one of the most important towns in the country and returning two Members to Parliament, its authority has slowly declined over the past two hundred years, to this time when our Councillors have virtually no powers. We have a Town Manager supplied by Rother District Councillor and a non elected body, The Rye Partnership, responsible for raising cash for projects in the area.

For seven hundred years Rye was a self governing body but in 1974 that was all changed when ‘Local Government Re-organisation’ took place and Rother District Council came into being. “Come along to the meeting” said Dr. Taylor “And support Rye. Whatever you want to happen in this town I am sure you would rather have the decisions made here.

In two short years the group has made a marked impression at the Town Hall. Six members have been voted to places on the Council, all are united in splitting Rother and need your support again to fill the Thomas Peacock Hall and demonstrate the need for change.”

Dr. Taylor went on “Every Ryer at the meeting is a link in a chain that leads to the division of Rother and a return of power to Rye, Winchelsea and the villages.”

“Rye’s Own” August 2007

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