Town Crier January 2007

Tilling Green in Danger

Councillor John Breeds sent in these amazing pictures of a river of water running down the very field where building development is being planned.

Flod Water Threatens Tilling Green
Flod Water Threatens Tilling Green

The water, more than six feet wide at times, ran down towards Tilling Green as the skies emptied a deluge upon the already sodden pasture. It takes little imagination to realise how much more water would rush down the slope if it were built on and cemented over. It is assumed that giant storage tanks, pumping into the river beyond the sluice gates as the tide goes down, are being considered as a solution but where would the tanks go, and would they be large enough to avert major flooding in the really wet periods that Rye does experience from time to time?

Flooded Builing plot
Flooded Builing plot

Well Done Rye Freemasons

The Freemasons of Rye invited “Rye’s Own” along to the Wellington Masonic Hall in Turkey Cock Lane to witness the presentation by President Reg Walker of cheques totalling £4,500 to representatives from nine locally based charities.

This Christmas gesture by the Mason’s benefited :-

The League of friends Memorial Care Centre (John Priestley); Rye Sea Cadets (Michele Law); Hastings /Rother Voluntary Association for the Blind (Fieona Farrier-Twist): Multiple Psoriasis (Sheila Corke) Conquest A & E Charity Fund (Jenny Darwood); St Michael’s Hospice (Julia Parsons); Ofie School Ghana Coast Building Fund (Joanne Oliver); Rye Children of Chernobyl Fund (Janet Waddams) and Age Concern Rye (Ray Fooks).

Freemasons Support Local Charties
Freemasons Support Local Charties

The Masonic movement has been treated with suspicion in some quarters and at one time was known as a ‘secret society’.

In recent years freemasonry has become more open. In the past donations to charities, which, when multiplied by all the masonic lodges in the world, amounted to millions of pounds, was always done anonymously. This all changed a few years ago and these very pleasant occasions have been open to public scrutiny.

Two years ago the Rye Lodge gave £15,000 to St. Johns which brought the total they needed up to £44,000, enough to finance their much needed new ambulance.

The Reception Room and Inner Temple are a marvellous record of Rye’s History. The Lodge is named after The Duke of Wellington, who was M.P. for Rye before he took up his military career and went on to defeat Napoleon at Waterloo.

The walls of the temple display a unique set of engravings depicting the funeral of Wellington and literally hundreds of names of famous Ryers are emblazoned on carved wood panels in gold leaf.

Every chair bears the name of a well known local figure. It is good to know the cloak of secrecy has been lifted from the Masonic movement and their good deeds can be made public.

Cheeky Girl in love

Rye has become very fond of the Cheeky Girls. They live here and are well known around the town. They always have time to speak to everyone who greets them.

Now Gabriela has fallen in love with frontbencher Liberal MP Lembit Opik and hit the headlines on two fronts.

Accusations that she had broken up a long term relationship between MP Opik and TV Weather Girl Sian Lloyd were denied by Gabriela, and Lembit confirmed this by saying he had split up with Ms. Lloyd “Some time ago”.

Cheeky Girls at the Robin Hood, Icklesham
Cheeky Girl, Gabriella at the Robin Hood, Icklesham

The second round of unwanted publicity came with a claim that MP Opik had used his influence to stop the girls being put out of the country for a couple of weeks, the time between their five year permit to stay expiring and the inclusion to the EEC of Romania on January 1, when they would be allowed back in.

What a load of rubbish, needless to say Gabriela and Monica, who have done a lot to promote Rye and support local events, were allowed to spend their Christmas at home with Mum Margit and Step Dad Ray. I wish them all a very successful New Year.

Why The Long Delay?

Brian Matthews has brought to my notice a press release, issued by the County Council last July. Reading between the lines it looks as though the fine promises that the cycle / footway route from Rye Harbour to Rye will be completed by the Spring of this year, will not now be fulfilled. I print it in full including the important note to Editors which appears at the end.

A new path for Rye Harbour

Tuesday 25 July 2006  (Press release from East Sussex County Council)

Pedestrians and cyclists in Rye Harbour will have a safer journey thanks to a new path along Harbour Road.

Construction of the new route is due to start on 31 July. (Last July) It will run over 455 metres along Harbour Road from the Church of the Holy Spirit to the new industrial estate. This is the first phase of a planned cycleway linking Rye Harbour with Rye. The County Council will be developing further phases of the route for construction in future years.

The new path will provide a safer route for pedestrians and cyclists along Harbour Road. Currently there is no pavement along most of the road and there have been a number of accidents including a fatality involving a cyclist.

The new path was given approval by the Planning and Highways Sub Committee on 24 May. If all phases of the path are approved, it would link the A259 and Rye Harbour, encouraging visitors to Rye Harbour Nature Reserve, a Site of Special Scientific Interest. And it would promote cycling and walking which are greener and healthier forms of transport.

Notes to editors

The proposal forms the first phase of an approved Local Area Transport Strategy for Rye that formulates a framework of transport investment in Rye until 2013, and involves building in phases, subject to planning approval and funding.

Further details are available from Agenda Item 6D at: Planning and Highways Sub-committee – 24 May 2006.

Reference: 1024 Contact the press team

It seems from the appendage that constructing the remaining distance to Rye might take as long as seven years. This is unacceptable.

We do know now that the first quarter of a mile was completed and is absolutely fine, the problem is the remaining mile and a quarter is still a death trap to cyclists and pedestrians alike.

Fine words and empty promises are no good to those that ‘run the gauntlet’ up and down this dangerous highway. Planning permission has been given and all the businesses on the west side of the road have said they welcome the cycle/footway – so what’s the problem County? No more excuses. Get on with the job before someone else is killed or injured.

Questions that County should answer :-

How much did the first stage cost and what are the estimates for the next mile and a quarter?

Do they plan to use the same contractors?

Something readers can do to persuade County to get the job done this year. Sign the petition at Jempsons/Budgens and contact your local County Councillor and ask him to help get construction started again.

Jempsons / Budgens

The change over at Rye’s largest shop took place very smoothly and already local people seem to have got used to Sunday closing.

Improvements are evident in the store with out of hours shelf stocking and better staffing at the tills being introduced immediately. The staff seem to be happy with the new arrangements and most customers like the cleaner looking appearance the store has taken on. Outside, the gathering of young people is not so evident as it had been previously and a cheerful greeting awaits customers as they enter the shop.

Steven Jempson told me he is very pleased with the new addition to the Jempson business and that there are plans to reduce prices in the New Year.

Steven also revealed that there are outline building plans being submitted for an extension on the existing building. This will make room for more lines and allow for more locally produced products, which Jempsons have always favoured.

300 Sign in Two Days

Three hundred Rye people, including the Mayor, several Councillors and virtually every shopkeeper in the High Street, signed a petition calling on Rother District Council to return the Car Parks and their annual income, to Rye Town Council.

The takings from Rye’s Council Car Parks totalled £174,000 last year, enough to run the Public Conveniences and Parks and Gardens in the Town with cash to spare.

At present Rye copes with a million plus visitors in the summer months but the income that is generated is spent on projects in the whole district.

The system of local government has proved to be undemocratic, unfair and flawed. The petition was the first move in many of the newly formed ‘Campaign for a Democratic Rye’ group, who are determined to win power back to Rye Town Council so that Rye can run its own affairs again.

On the 8 January CDR councillors are asking for Rye Town Council to assert authority on the one thing that has been left to them, Public Footpaths. A Cycle/footpath that circumnavigates the town safely is their aim and I hope that ALL councillors will support this project and agree to form a working party that can look into all the possible ways this can be achieved.

A round the town cycle/footway would be a great tourist attraction, but more important are the young people, who, not having the confidence to ride on the road and dodge the traffic, now ride on the footpaths to get around, causing danger to pedestrians.

A combined cycle/footpath, divided by a line as cycle footways are on the continent and in America, will keep cyclists and pedestrians safe on their travels around the town to schools, skate park, swimming pool, Rock Channel, The Strand etc., and would eventually join with the cycle ways to Camber, Winchelsea, Rye Harbour, Winchelsea Beach and later, with Hastings via the Fairlight Cycle / Footpath that is soon to be constructed.

Jim Hollands

“Rye’s Own” January 2007

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