Town Crier

Let A Lesson Be Learned From This Tragic Accident Graham Matthews was a popular 22 year old filled with life and enthusiasm. His untimely death when he was knocked off his bike on the Rye Harbour Road has shocked and saddened his family and friends. Everyone at “Rye’s Own” send their sincere condolences to his Mum and Dad and to Carol and Troy, our thoughts are with you.

The Harbour Road has seen accidents and fatalities to both cyclists and pedestrians in the past but this terrible death should be the last. The time has come for a proper cycle path with adjoining footpath to be constructed from Rye to Rye Harbour. I was in Brugges, Belgium the other day and there they have cycle paths all over the City. Every town has a cycle path leading to it from the next. These are real roads for cyclists, a minimum of six foot in width and all with Tarmac surface. Footpaths are adjacent but separate from the bike roads. They spread all over Holland, Belgium and France, in other European countries too. They have been built, in the main, with Community funding which we are helping to pay for. So where are our cycle roads and footpaths? The pathetic effort by Sustran from Dumb Woman’s Lane to Gibbet Marsh and from Monkbretton Bridge to Camber are narrow affairs with gates, overgrown with thistles and surfaced with grit. They are suitable only for mountain cycles. Road bikes pick up punctures within minutes of getting on them. They are not linked through the town except by a succession of ‘cycle’ signs pointing in every direction but the right one.

The existing paths should be widened and metalled, side fencing installed to eliminate gates and separate footpaths introduced. A route should be built through the town connecting Gibbets Marsh with Monkbretton Bridge. Two routes are possible.

Route 1. Crossing Winchelsea Road by way of a ‘cyclist crossing’ using a Zebra or traffic lights, sharing the pavement until access can be gained to the Quay. Then out into St. Margaret’s Terrace, Rock Channel to the Fishmarket along the pathway at the back of the Salts and crossing Monkbretton on an extended platform added to the existing pedestrian walkway.

Route 2. Cross the Tillingham on the disused side of the railway bridge, through the railway waste ground to Ferry road. Cyclist road crossing to further waste railway land through to the Grove Road Crossing. Cyclist road crossing to more railway waste ground through to the unused archway under the road bridge into Military Road. Footpath would be widened to have separate pedestrian and cycling avenue. Crossing at North Salts entrance, turn right just beyond taking route of existing footpath across railway, back of Cricket Salts to Monkbretton Bridge, where down the bank and under bridge on constructed shelf, up the other side to join the cyclist bridge attached to Monkbretton walkway. The route to Rye Harbour would link to these at the Winchelsea Road Bridge.

All routes would have a separate footpath running adjacent to the cycle routes.

The money is available for such projects, all that is needed is the co-operation and good will of the land owners. Surely, in the light of the death of Graham Matthews, action must be taken now to put ideas such as those muted here into practice, for the sake of the safety of the vulnerable, in this age of ever increasing vehicular traffic on the already overloaded roads of Rye.

Cycling and walking are listed as two of the best pastimes for health and fitness, they are environmentally sound and deserve to be carried out in safe conditions.

I have great pleasure in including this section of a report by Sam Souster to Rye Town Council on 16 August as they reflect my opinions entirely.

               The Future of Rother District Council

“There is an old adage which says “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” – unfortunately, Rother is broke or will be if considerable reforms are not put into place. The balancing of the books in this financial year resulted in an unacceptable level of Community Charge and, unless there are significant charges in the organisation as a whole and the associated working practices, the predictions for the future are far worse (50% + increase).

There is another saying used by those involved in method study that is “there is always a better way”. This would now appear to have been accepted by RDC.

The Budget Project Board (Cross-party working group) is due to report to the Resources. Overview the scrutiny Committee next Wednesday (18th August 2004), and is likely to recommend that consideration should be given to changes that would have been unthinkable not so long ago.”

The Report also underlines the fact that “Rye Town Council is working towards accreditation as a Quality Town Council. When this is achieved there are a number of services which could be undertaken by the Town Council, providing the necessary resources are available.”

Sam’s report highlights the fact that Rye Town Council is moving slowly towards ‘self government’. I think that the time is now right to put a simple referendum to the people of Rye.

Would you choose to be run by Rother District Council or a reformed Rye Borough Council?

Rother District Council has proved to be too Bexhill orientated, too party political and completely insensitive to the requirements of Rye.

Give Rye back its power and there will be many quality candidates willing to stand as Councillors. The existing Rye Town Council includes among its numbers good people who could make the transition from ‘advisers’ to ‘decision makers’. The quality of the new Council would soon be emulating the great Rye Borough Council of pre 1973 who looked after Rye’s affairs in an exemplary manner giving ratepayers value for money and supporting local planners, clubs and societies. Look at the ridiculous way in which Rother have treated Rye Bowls Club and the tremendous fight it has been for our District Councillors to get Rother to change its mind. Sam Souster and Granville Bantick are two voices among thirtyeight. If Rye was in charge of its own affairs it would have taken two minutes for the decision to be made.

“If it ain’t broke, don’t mend it” Rye Borough Council was far from broke in 1973 when it was extinguished by government legislation and replaced by Rother, now it is the people of Rye who are becoming ‘broke’ by the imposition of such enormous Community Charges which have come about because Rother have employed so many echelons of management.

Rye was run by five full time office staff and eight full time outside workers in the days before 1973. They had their own road sweeper, dustcart, snowplough, tractor and mowers and implements. The sports grounds, gardens and flower beds were kept in wonderful condition and the streets were clean. Toilets were open round the clock and never allowed to get in the state they are now. The men took pride in their town.

There was no graffiti, no broken windows, pavements and roads within the town were kept in safe condition, problems were dealt with immediately. Our Churches were never locked.

Of course there were policemen on the streets around the clock then to deter any would be vandal, but that is another story.

                       United’s F.A.Cup Debut

Rye & Iden United take the field against East Preston on Saturday 4 September in the Preliminary Round of the Football Association Cup. The match will be played on East Preston’s ground, even though United were drawn at home, because Rye Cricket Club have first claim to the Cricket Salts.

If Rye & Iden win they will enter the First Qualifying Round of the competition. Progressing through the three Qualifying Rounds would get them to the First Round Proper and put them against Second and Third Division teams from the Football League.

Rye topped the Sussex County League after their first two matches, so they are in good form. Best of luck to them in their F.A.Cup endeavours, perhaps they will turn out to be the ‘giant killers’ of 2004.

                            The Lion Street School

It seems that the Rye Partnership are teaming up with Hastings College of Art and Technology to convert the greater part of the F.E. Centre and its grounds into flats. They are offering to keep the front Hall available for civic use!

What a cheek. This building was given in perpetuity by John Meryon for the Education of the people of Rye. Hastings College got hold of the building from Rye Borough Council for the price of £1 when the 1973 Government reorganisation took place.

This building belongs to Rye and no one should be allowed to turn it into living accommodation.

Jim Hollands