We were delighted to hold a successful Summer Garden Party last month and many thanks to Andy and Nikki for hosting the event which was our first gathering of members since the start of the pandemic, in fact since the 2019 Christmas Party and I was very pleased that so many ere able to attend. I was also pleased to present our Annual Awards to the worthy winners as listed in an earlier post. We were supplied with very nice scones, jam and cream from Peter who was the owner of Fletchers for many years
Liz Bamjii accepting an Award on behalf of the Hub on Rye Hill
The weather stayed fair and the was plenty of discussion around local issues particularly difficulties with planning. It was also pleasing that we could welcome sx new members to the Society on the day.
The Society Executive Committee continues to meet monthly using the Zoom facility to consider planning proposals and other issues affecting the town. We are looking forward to holding an AGM in the Autumn, but recognise that we still need to be aware that the pandemic is not yet over, however I am cautiously optimistic that we could hold a short in person meeting in November, possibly on Friday 19 which would enable us to elect a new committee and approve the accounts. I am also hoping that we can hold an annual lunch although we might need to restrict numbers to fewer than usual. We are seeking new volunteers to join the Executive particularly with knowledge/expertise in planning matters especially as Julian Luckett, our esteemed Chairman of Planning and Society vice chairman is retiring at the AGM.
A familiar sight in Rye are the traditional red telephone boxes at the bottom of Conduit Hill and at Mermaid Corner.
BT has decided that they are no longer viable, but has offered to sell them to the local council for a nominal £1 each.
It seemed unlikely that BT would be persuaded to retain the phone as I assume they have usage figures. But there are campaigners who wish to see K6 coin phones retained as historic artifacts and a number of objections have been made to OFCOM so it seems these phones will be now kept until 2025 when all pay phones will go.
There are precedents elsewhere for new uses for old boxes such as book exchange and flower sellers. Maybe there is scope for a competition?
Our 2020 Annual Report is currently being written and will be available by late October giving details of our financial position and of our currently limited activities. Normally this would have been done in the Spring before the AGM but we are running late because of the pandemic.
The lack of affordable housing remains a key issue for the town, but at the same time planners have to make decisions on whether to allow changes of use. For example recently an application to convert the Aviemore Guest House to housing was refused on the grounds of loss of tourist accommodation and employment. However I wonder whether, given the increase in the number of Air BnBs and other self catering units whether this was a sensible decision. Rother have said that they wish to sell the Rye Hire site to their own housing developer to create eight housing units. This proposal has been strongly criticised by Rye Town Council, who do not wish to see the loss of a thriving popular business who have not been able to find suitable alternative premises. In this case we support Rye Town Council in their criticism.
I would like to see progress on developing the site at Tilling Green, but there is no news at present.