The Power of Wellbeing

An opportunity for Rye Town Council to put action to the words

By Jim Hollands

It’s all gone quiet at Rye Town Hall – All the build up and work that went into gaining ‘Quality Town Status’ and earning a framed certificate and the elusive ‘Power of Wellbeing’ has come to nothing, just as those who thought up the scheme probably knew it would end! It was just a ruse thought up by the Labour Government and designed to keep small councils up and down the country anticipating a return to real local power.

It has not made one iota of difference but there is a way to get something out of that hard earned certificate. Wellbeing, as defined by the dictionary, means good health, comfort and welfare.

Now, as Rye Town Council has no REAL power, and we won’t see local power restored until the District is split into three, why don’t they concentrate on improving the health of people who live in this town by encouraging sport and exercise in every way they can?

There are many avenues they can explored and loads of existing sporting facilities and clubs available in the town.

First they should take a close look at what County are trying to do with our designated sports areas. Both the Freda Gardham and Tilling Green schools have unused sports fields that County will be able to sell off for development if they can persuade the Home Secretary that are not being used or needed.

Rye United are in desperate need of a ground, they are at present sharing the Cricket Salts but cannot even use that as their Clubhouse was burnt down. The Freda Gardham sports field, that has always been used for football, should be made over to them on a 99 year lease with access to the ground for the emergency services and the use of the old playground, which is seldom used by the Art School, should be available on match days. This would enable United to build their new clubhouse, which could be paid in part from the insurance money they will be getting for the building on the Cricket Salts.

The sports ground at the Tilling Green School should be made over for use with the old school building as a Community Centre (without it being filled by Rye Partnerships grant supported projects) on a permanent basis, not earmarked for more housing. The 135 being built on the hill behind the school may be empty for years if the housing recession deepens. It may be they will have to be compulsorily purchased by Rother for housing stock in four or five years time!

The idea that County seem to have is that the people of Tilling Green are not capable of running and maintaining a community centre by themselves.

This is a strange argument as the 200 people that live in Iden run a fantastic Village Hall and Sports Ground. There are 2000 people living on and around Tilling green and as I remember, that is where most of Rye’s tradesmen come from.

There are a couple of questions I would like to ask County about the Tilling Green School.

One: Why was the power and gas supply torn out and not just turned off?

Two: If, as was reported by a County Councillor, the kitchen was ‘vandalised’ before the school was boarded up, was it reported to the police and what is the incident number? After all it is a public building.

At the recent meeting the Tilling Green Committee were told they would not be able to use the kitchen facilities at the school for ‘Health & Safety’ reasons. I must be hearing things, these are grown up people, they all have a kitchen of their own at home! Just give them the school and the sports ground County and let them run it and raise cash for themselves. Stop keep frightening them off by saying they will have to pay rates.

They can register as a charity and be free of any rates. Rye Town Council should be ‘on the case’. They do have the ‘Power of Wellbeing’ and should be helping and supporting Rye United Football Club to get their own ground and the people of Tilling Green achieve their own aim of getting a ‘real’ Community Centre where everyone mucks in and helps out without being held by the hand and guided in the direction that Rother, County or Rye Partnership wants to take them.

Rye Town Council might want to use some of the small amount of cash they do have control over to encourage young and old alike to take part in swimming, gymnastic, tennis and other sporting pursuits. They could also liaise with the many sports and social clubs in the town to see what they have on offer. Come on Rye Councillors, these are things you can have an influence over, you worked hard to get the ‘Power of Wellbeing’ this is a chance to use it.

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