Town Crier July 2006

Rye Town Council Did Their Best

There has been criticism of Rye Town Council over the recent chaos caused by the resurfacing work at South Undercliff. I must spring to the defence of the council and lay the blame where it belongs, on the doorstep of East Sussex County Council and the Highway Agency.

The Rye Town Manager was designated, through Rye Partnership, to co-ordinate the closure arrangements. Keen and efficient as Yolanda Laybourne is she did not have the local knowledge to carry out this task, it should have been the elected Rye Town Council made responsible for the job, not the non-elected Partnership.

East Sussex and the Highways Agency should have know better than to close the main coast road in the holiday season, it should have been done in January or February. The plan should have been to get the job done in two weeks, not six. When it all blew up in their faces and they realised what damage was being done to Rye, pressure was put on to get the job finished, the last four weeks work were completed in 10 days.

Rye Town Council, with the experienced help of Town Clerk Richard Farhall were responsible for screaming at Rother, East Sussex and the Highways Agency when businesses’ in the town were being driven to the wall. The argument that Rye Councillors should be blamed for the mess does not hold water, they were not given the key role of co-ordinating the scheme, it is Rye Partnerships involvement that should be criticised.

I return to my well known stance. Rye Town Council has very little power, it is absolutely wrong for the elected body to be subservient to an non elected group. The system is undemocratic and allied with the minimal representation on Rother District Council and the seemingly unfair way that Rye is being treated by East Sussex County Council in respect of the Friary Care Centre and the Dial-a-Ride service, is completely unsatisfactory.

Maritime Festival

Richard Popple at the 2008 Maritime Festival

Councillor Paul Carey’s criticism of Rye Boat Owners efforts to raise grant cash to put on the Maritime Festival were, in my opinion, ill judged. Paul has been a great advocate of any event that brings publicity and business to Rye and I am sure that on reflection he will see that, no matter how monies are obtained to make these memorable days happen, it will be better for Rye that they do take place.

Paul’s unstinted efforts on behalf of the Bonfire Society are well known and the traditional way that cash is raised to put on the fantastic yearly spectacular is to be admired. It is tough getting the money together through Jumble Sales, Boot Sales, Auctions etc. but it would be harder still if there were another organisation added to those that already exist by these means. There are only so many prizes and auction lots that the local traders can afford to give, they are very generous but there are limits. New ways of financing these great Rye events are welcome. Good luck to Rye Boat Owners Association, if their Maritime Festival of 2006 this coming August is as good as last year’s Trafalgar Day event on The Strand then it will be something to look forward to.

Do Not Get Old

The Friary Day Centre will be closed by the end of October at the latest Keith Glazier informs us. Now we hear that the small £3,500 grant that East Sussex County Council make annually to our Dial-a-Ride service is to be withdrawn. In the light of promises made to those using the Friary Day Care Centre that they will be found places at other centres, presumably in Hastings, the question arises HOW WILL THEY GET THERE?

Now another axe could fall in the name of saving money. THE EMERGENCY & ACCIDENT DEPARTMENT AT THE CONQUEST MAY CLOSE!!!! What in God’s name are they thinking of? If you have an Accident or Heart Attack its a thirty mile trip to Eastbourne or even a fifty mile dash to Brighton. Has the world gone mad? We were much better off in the days of Rye Memorial Hospital when Dr. Button was on hand in an operating theatre that lacked today’s sophisticated equipment but which was minutes not hours away from the accident.

The truth is that there has been so much money wasted on administration there is none left for Doctors, Nurses, Equipment and Drugs. How many administrators will lose their jobs one wonders. In hindsight, why do we need administrators, sack the lot and let Doctors and Nurses look after the patients and the patients take care of their own records. Dr. Button, Dr. Mannington and Dr. Hartley had one Matron in charge of the Nurses and one almoner in charge of paperwork!

The Curse of Centralisation

Centralisation is the curse of the age. It is a recipe for disaster. Centralisation means a bigger power base and more jobs for the boys. The Police are next on the list, soon it may be ‘Sussex and Surrey’ Police. Just think, they will need just one traffic ‘incident car’. What a saving, one instead of two. What they do not say is that instead of closing the road completely for four hours while the ‘Incident Car’ comes from Worthing after a serious crash, it could be closed for eight hours while the vehicle travels from Epsom.

Rye Fire Service is the one example of local excellence that shines through. Manned by part-timers as it has always been and on call 24 hours a day, the big red engine gets to any property in the town within five minutes of the call. The recent fire at Martyn Channon’s demonstrates that Rye Firefighters can overcome any problem. Just think what would happen if they were centralised as the Police are! Can they guarantee to be on your doorstep in five minutes?

I have come under criticism from some sectors for going over the same ground time after time. Rother District Council flaws, East Sussex County Council’s cut backs that affect this town, Rye Town Councils lack of power and authority, Police deficiencies and the overall loss of democracy in this Ancient Cinque Port Town

I do not apologise for this. When it comes to the way we are governed locally and to the services provided I will continue to highlight the deficits that I see in the system and praise successes and improvements as they occur. I also hope to see the day when I can report that power and authority is returned to Rye Town Council and will support the Campaign for a Democratic Rye in their efforts to achieve this aim.

Rye United are Go!

Rye United, yes it does sound better, are back in business. Still in Division One of the Sussex County League and complete with a new coach of some standing. Mike Robbins will guide the team into the new season. Good Luck Mike, “Rye’s Own” will be supporting you. Let us hope that there will be many old faces among the spectators to support the team into a new period of success and achievement.

Sussex Festival of Art

What a great thing it is for the Sussex Festival of Art to be coming to Rye for a third year. The Thomas Peacocke benefits as funds raised go towards next years College art programme at the Thomas Peacocke.

Over 25 well known East and West Sussex artists will be exhibiting their work and include leading artists Richard Adams and Louis Turpin, potter Judith Rowe, sculptor Leigh Dyer and jeweller Stacey Sangster. It is a feather in the cap of all those concerned that this prestigious Festival is attracted to Rye, right on the periphery of Sussex.

Business As Usual

The business as usual phrase is often used but in the case of Martyn Channon’s Country Store it has taken a brave and determined effort to achieve.

The terrible fire that destroyed most of the stock and left the building severely damaged gave the impression that it may be months or even years before the firm could get back on its feet. But no, within days, thanks to a massive effort by Martyn, his staff and with the help of Eric and Roy Bourne, the store was ‘open for limited business at the Market in two days and trading almost as normal at Bourne’s Warehouse in Rock Channel, within two weeks.

Martyn told us that it was the good wishes and practical help of customers and Rye traders that got him through the nightmare.

The warehouse at Rock Channel is to be found behind South Undercliff by way of St. Margarets Terrace. It is situated at the other end of the building used by Rye Auction Galleries.

Jim Hollands

“Rye’s Own”July 2006

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