Town Crier

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Campaign For A Democratic Rye

The work of the Campaign for a Democratic Rye Group is aimed entirely at restoring power and decision making locally. It seeks to encourage Rye Councillors to face up to Rother and claim back what was taken from it in 1974. At the Public Meeting, held at the Rye Community Centre in November the numbers of people attending were a bit better than those that attend meetings of the Town Council, perhaps there is a message here somewhere.

The Rye Councillors attending are were invited to say YES! to the principle of the plan set out by the CDR and go back to the Council Chambers and set it in motion.

Everyone present were welcomed to join the Democracy For Rye group and put their own ideas forward on ways of improving the area for the benefit of all and of the those that will follow us.

Democracy for Rye means exactly what is says. We want to run our own affairs in our own way. We want teeth to fight government proposals that may change the structure of Rye for ever. We want change that is for the best, not change for the worse, the changes of 1974 have put an ever increasing burden on this town. This is not the first time the people of Rye have stood against injustice. We have a town rooted in history that has always been ready to look to the future, the changes we are determined to make will lead the way for others to follow. Democracy is a precious stone and Rye is a jewel which we will not see destroyed.

I was invited to speak at the meeting, and so that readers who were not present will know how I stand on the issue I reprint what I said in these columns.

“Up to the time of dissolution in 1974 Rye Borough Council had been a prudent, sensible governing body responsible for planning, parks and gardens, roads within the town and maintaining the town’s assets and using them to the best advantage of the people of Rye.

They were also responsible for housing the people of Rye and built a fine estate on Tilling Green. Rye Borough Council was made up of twelve councillors elected on a staggered three year cycle by the Rye electorate, and four aldermen who were nominated by the council members and held their positions on a permanent basis.

If there was a problem in Rye you went to a councillor or Alderman and they took the matter directly to the council who had the powers to sort it out.

This was democracy working properly.

After Rother took control in 1974 Rye, Battle and Bexhill had the option of disbanding their council completely or carrying on as Town Councils with just power over footpaths and allotments plus ‘advisory duties’ in relation to development and planning proposals for Rye. Rye & Battle took the option of Town Council, Bexhill decided to disband.

Rye & Battle were forced to relinquish all their freehold and leaseholds to Rother or County. Rye kept it’s Town Hall and curiously the adjoining cottage plus land at New Road which is now leased to the Rye Rugby Club.

They lost The Salts, Cemetery, Gungardens, Lion Street School, The Council Offices at Magdela Terrace and adjoining land, The Toilets on The Strand those at the Gungardens, and Rope Walk, the Council Yard and buildings in Cyprus Place. The council houses on Tilling Green and Kings Avenue, council houses on Udimore Road and many other buildings and plots scattered around the town.

Rye Town Council did their best and initially many of their ‘advisory decisions’ were upheld by Rother. The big problem was that when an elector approached his Rye Town Councillor with a problem there could only be a solution if Rother took notice.

Gradually Rye Councillors lost their credibility and now many electors do not even bother to vote when the election comes up. The Council Chamber has few visitors on Meeting Nights, apathy has really set in.

Rother have become more and more Bexhill oriented and funding to the De La Warr Pavilion and many other projects in Bexhill has been taken from the combined purse at the expense of Rye, Battle and the villages. Rother maintain that the facilities in Bexhill are available to all in the District but in practice how many people from Rye visit the De La Warr more than once in five years?

The Partnerships, non-elected of course, were introduced by the government and Rye Partnership came into being. This was another kick in the teeth to the elected Rye Town Council. The Partnership promised everything and has achieved very little. They themselves handed another blow to the authority of the Town Council by introducing a ‘Town Manager’. (The Town Manager is actually employed by Rother).

Both Rother, County and The Rye Partnership are involved, jointly in many cases, in

1. Moving the Doctor’s Surgery to Rye Hill.

2. Selling the old Ferry Road School site to Tesco or other developers.

3. Proposals to close the Tilling Green and Freda Gardham Primary Schools and erect a new school on the sports ground at the Thomas Peacocke.

4. Desecrating Rye Cemetery

5. Mismanaging the building of a new Library on a completely unsuitable site.

6. Forcing out classes and clubs from the Lion Street School in preparation to converting it to dwellings (The site was left to the Town of Rye for the Education of its people IN PERPETUITY)

7. Charging The Rye Bonfire Society for the use of the Middle Salts for it’s Bonfire Celebrations! (The Salts were left for the recreation of Rye People FOR EVER).

This list could go on but

ENOUGH IS ENOUGH – The time has come to reinstate proper democracy to this town. ”

I am sorry if the amount of coverage given to this subject in the Christmas issue has forced out other interesting articles but I do feel that this moment in time is so important to Rye and the people of Rye it deserves all the support this magazine can muster.

Rye is about to be swamped with so many building projects and developments. It will soon become another suburban scrawl if we do not make our voice heard. Splitting Rother into three areas would give Rye, Winchelsea and the surrounding area a voice again.

                   How Do You Stop Armed Robberies?

The terrible recent tragedy when a two policewomen were gunned down while going about their duties has brought an outcry to arm all our police.To my mind this would be an invitation to all desperate criminals to arm themselves as well leading to gunfights in the streets American style.

How can we leave the bulk of our police force unarmed but stop criminals carrying weapons? Easy, bring in a new law – anyone caught carrying a weapon of any kind, whether they use it or not, in the course of a robbery should be subject to the death penalty. No need to worry about mistaken identity these days, there are cameras situated everywhere and make powerful evidence that is difficult to argue with.

If my memory serves me correctly the death penalty is still in force for an act of treason or the murder of a policeman. If I am right it might be a good idea to get the gallows dusted off and set an example when the killer of P.C. Sharon Beshenivsky is found guilty.

                        RYE IN BLOOM AWARDS CEREMONY

The Rye in Bloom Award Ceremony took place too late for us to include in November’s “Rye’s Own” but I feel that so much work was put in by the organisers and competitors that the results should be recorded in the magazine.

The highlight of the Rye in Bloom calendar saw a packed Town Hall when the prizes were presented for the best Rye in Bloom entries and the best Flower and Vegetable Show exhibits.

Rex Swain, Rye’s Town Crier, opened the proceedings with his usual style and Lorna Hall, Chairman, expressed delight at the number of people present and the high standards reached by Rye’s entries this year. The ‘In Bloom’ committee were joined by prize winners, members, supporters, Rye’s Mayoress and guests for a glass of wine before the ceremony.

Councillor Ron Dyason, the Chairman of Rother District Council, said a few complimentary words and commented on the importance of the In Bloom competition to the community.

Lorna thanked the entrants for their hard work and enthusiasm and also the sponsors who make the competition financially possible. Mr. Peter Lindsay, Editor of the Rye Observer very kindly presented the awards to each winner The winners for 2005 were :-

The 2005 winners with their David Sharp Pottery wall plates
The 2005 winners with their
David Sharp Pottery wall plates

Best Hotel and Guest House Display

First Hope Anchor Hotel

Highly Commended Durrant House Hotel

Best Public House Display

First                             The Bell Inn

Highly Commended The Union Inn

Best Restaurant Display

Joint First Peacock Tearooms Fletchers House Tearooms

Highly Commended Swan Cottage Tearooms

Best Any Other Business

First Apothecary House

Highly Commended Rye Retreat

Highly Commended Gibbons and Mannington

Best Residential Front Garden

First Prize Mrs Greenhouse of Queen’s Well, Deadmans Lane

Highly Commended Mr Sargeant of 19 Bankside, Tilling Green

Highly Commended Mrs Hook of 95 Pottingfield Road, Tilling Green

Best Residential Hanging Basket or Container

First Mr, MrsCarter of 37 Cooper Road, Tilling Green

Highly Commended Annie O’Leary of 2 Eagle Road

Highly Commended Carole Remmer of 1 Bankside, Tilling Green

Best ‘Nice Things to Eat’ garden by schools.

Freda Gardham

Tilling Green School

Rye Pre-school Playgroup

Best Overall Vegetable Entry – sponsored by Rye Town Council

Brian Morris

Best Overall Cut Flower Entry – sponsored by the Old Forge Restaurant

Raine Goddard

Best Overall Cookery Entry – sponsored by Manor Farm Oast

Helena Hudd

Best Floral Art Entry – sponsored by Rye Retreat

Sylvia Boiling

Best Overall Child’s Entry – sponsored by The Four Seasons Guest House

Alexandra Manktelow, aged 7

Best Arts, Photography & Handicrafts Entry – sponsored by The Rye Observer

Viv Challans

Best Overall Score in the Show – sponsored by Rye in Bloom and David Sharp Pottery

Brian Morris

                                      Rye Memorial Care Centre

I have spent a lot of time recently as a visitor at Rye Memorial Care Centre. I have been very impressed by the dedication of the staff and the efforts they go to looking after our senior citizens.

Rye has a lot to thank Paul and Linda Macartney for. Had it not been for their help and influence I doubt if our hospital would have survived. Now, as the terrible trend towards centralisation at last seems to be moving into reverse gear the importance of keeping the site alive and publicly owned will pay this town great dividends in the future.

There was a time when Rye Memorial Hospital looked after 90% of all Rye’s 5,000 population illnesses and operations. In the late forties I had my tonsils and a TB gland removed by Doctor Button ‘up the hill’. The population of Rye is still 5,000 but today 99% of our problems are dealt with by the Conquest or specialist hospitals, it felt quite strange going to Rye Hospital instead of the Conquest to visit, but how much nicer for me and the patient. I hope this is a potent for things to come and that the facilities at Rye are extended to cover more areas. It would be nice to think that if I become ill I would be going ‘up the hill’ for treatment again.


A CRIMBO, the Sun Newspapers Christmas version of an ASBO was issued for Rye Chamber of Commerce for snubbing Christmas lights this year.

A CRIMBO, which stands for Christmas must be observed, was the last thing the Chamber wanted after the furore that putting out the lights has caused locally. Embattled Chamber Chairman, Sara Nixon explained it cannot afford lights in the High Street as the cost had gone up to £30.000 due to health and safety regulations.

It is reported that the strings of lights are getting rather old and many of the bulbs need replacing, but the main problem is the fixing on buildings which have to meet strict health and safety standards.

The lights apparently have to be put up by a qualified electrician who has completed new training and they appear to be in short supply. The cheapest quote was £30,000.

Is this another regulation from Brussels? If so, go and take a look at the way Christmas lights are put up in the villages and towns of France and Belgium. There they are held in place by string and ceiling wax regulations are not observed there or are they exempt?

Rules and regulations are beginning to ruin our way of life. The way things are going it will only be a matter of time before Brussels bans torchlight processions. I wonder if the Rye Bonfire Boys will observe that one?

Sara Dixon told us “There will be a Christmas tree at the George and it is hoped shops and residents in the town will take up the challenge of providing simple but effective individual decorations. The small Christmas trees will be installed and there will be more of them this year and the splendid Christmas Grotto at the Ypres Tower will be open for the first three Saturdays in December.”

                                  Doctor’s Visits

There was a time that when you were very ill your own doctor could be called directly to your house. Then came SEEDOC who would be a duty doctor you might not know but who came nevertheless. Now he will come if you say the right things to a nurse on the telephone who is aided in her enquiries into what is wrong with you by a computer. If the computer gives a high enough score SEEDOC will be sent to your home.

Now, if what I have been told is correct, the SEEDOC service in this area is to be discontinued. If you are ill you will be told to get yourself to the Conquest Hospital by your own steam or if you are very ill an ambulance will collect you!

Already the SEEDOC Service has been restricted, the cars which used to make between five and ten calls every evening are now left without calls for some reason, either there has been a remarkable improvement in the health of local people or the sick are being directed to hospital or treated by nurses on the phone.

If you want to be ill now I can give you a tip, there are SEEDOC’s on hand at the Rye Memorial Care Centre on Saturday and Sunday Mornings. no good being ill any later in the day.

Jim Hollands

From “Rye’s Own “ December 2005

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