Rother District Council

Election results for 2019

    Elected in 2019
    Total
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    14
    14
    -18
    Elected in 2019
    Total
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    13
    13
    +9
    Elected in 2019
    Total
    +/-
    7
    7
    +6
    Elected in 2019
    Total
    +/-
    3
    3
    +2
    Elected in 2019
    Total
    +/-
    1
    1
    +1

Most Recent

Council sets green target in Rother

Huw Oxburgh

Local Democracy Reporter

Rother District Council has pledged to become carbon neutral by 2030, after becoming the latest local authority to declare a climate emergency.

The pledge was made at a full council meeting on 16 September, as councillors unanimously passed a motion put forward by the Rother Alliance – the council’s cross-party leadership group.

As well as the pledge to become carbon neutral by 2030, the motion called on the council to ask Government to provide additional powers and funding to become carbon neutral, seek other external funding to achieve this goal, and identify climate champions for communities in Rother.

It also requested that cabinet set up a steering group responsible for creating an action plan for the council’s future work on climate change.

In passing the motion, Rother District Council became the fifth district or borough council to declare a climate emergency in East Sussex, with a pair of similar motions set to be discussed by East Sussex County Council at a meeting of its Place Scrutiny Committee on 18 September.

Pub to become a doctors' surgery

Huw Oxburgh

Local Democracy Reporter

Controversial plans to convert a village pub into a doctors’ surgery have been given the go-ahead.

Rother District Council’s approved an application to convert The Smuggler in Pett Level into a surgery and cafe.

While approved, the scheme had proven controversial with many residents of the village,

A group of them are in the process of attempting to have the vacant pub listed as an asset of community value, with the aim of opening it again for business.

The Smuggler pub in Pett Level
Google

9,700 government-funded trees planted in Rother in eight years

There have been 9,700 government-funded trees planted in Rother between 2010 and 2018, Forestry Commission data shows.

This works out at 102 trees per 1,000 people.

Between 2010 and 2018 the government funded about 15 million trees in England. Figures for trees planted with private funds or by local councils are not included and the data only covers new trees, not replacements for any that were cut down.

Overall tree planting rates across the UK would need to more than double to combat rising temperatures and climate change, according to official figures.

Last year 13,400 hectares of new trees were planted across the UK, most of them in Scotland, but the Committee on Climate Change says this should rise to at least 30,000 hectares a year.

Campaign group The Woodland Trust said more trees were needed to provide summer shade, reduce air pollution, improve water quality and manage flooding.

The government said it had made it "much easier" to apply for planting grants.

Find out about tree planting across the UK here.

This story has been generated using Forestry Commission data, BBC analysis and some automation.

Refurbished Colonnade 'glossed over' council mistakes

Huw Oxburgh

Local Democracy Reporter

The former leader of Rother District Council has defended the authority’s handling of the Colonnade Restaurant project, as councillors discussed the matter this week.

The project was discussed at a meeting of the council’s overview and scrutiny committee on Monday 22 July, as members considered a report covering the events surrounding the £288,000 renovation of the Bexhill landmark in 2018 and its time as a council-run business.

As previously reported, this council-run business – The Colonnade Bexhill Ltd – made a loss of more than £56,000 within its first 10 weeks of trading, a loss officers have largely attributed to unforeseen issues in connecting the building’s gas supply.

However, the report says the project has proven to be a good return on investment in the long-run – raising the building’s value by £165,000 and increasing council rental income by £36,900 per annum since being taken over by Wingrove House Limited.

Despite this result several councillors called for lessons to be learned from the project.

Councillor Hazel Timpe said: "Just to gloss over and say ‘look how wonderful we are now’ is not right. We cannot ignore that we totally screwed up as a council.”

But this view was disputed by Conservative group leader - and former council leader - Carl Maynard, who argued that the refurbishment had achieved the aims of Next Wave regeneration project by attracting a "high quality restaurant offer".

Council 'crackdown' on jet skiers

Huw Oxburgh

Local Democracy Reporter

There is to be a "crackdown" on jet skiers in Rother this summer, according to a council report.

Rother District Council is set to stop the launching of jet skis from Herbrand Walk beach over the coming weeks.

The council had temporarily designated the boat lane there as an appropriate launching and recovery site last year.

According to council papers, the decision had been taken due to legal concerns over Rother only having a single site for jet ski launches within the district, requiring jet skiers to make a 35-mile journey to Rye Harbour.

As a result, the council was concerned it could be found to be "unreasonable" in its provision, potentially leaving the authority liable should anyone be injured.

Since then, however, the council has been given further legal advice, saying a ban on jet ski launching at Herbrand Walk is reasonable, due to a nearby designated launch in Eastbourne.

Parking charges on Bexhill seafront would "kill town"

Huw Oxburgh

Local Democracy Reporter

Pay-and-display parking charges will "kill" towns in East Sussex, it has been warned.

Councillor Lynn Langlands, of Rother District Council, said proposals to introduce parking enforcement would be like "killing" Bexhill.

“I’m not sure that if we start charging on the seafront, then we won’t cause an economic problem to the town.”

Conservative group leader Carl Maynard said that excluding the seafront from parking charges would result in spaces being taken up by traders and leave none for visitors.

Rother District Council’s overview and scrutiny committee heard further details of proposals to bring on-street parking restrictions to Bexhill, Battle, Robertsbridge and Rye.

Charges for the seafront would be set at about 20p per 30 minutes and at £2 to stay for more than six hours.

If agreed, parking enforcement would begin in April 2020.

East Sussex recycling changes due at end of June

Huw Oxburgh

Local Democracy Reporter

Recycling collections in East Sussex are set for changes from 28 June, with East Sussex residents no longer able to put Tetra Pak cartons in with their normal household collections.

At the same time, Hastings, Rother and Wealden residents will no longer be required to separate out glass, and will be able to mix it in with the rest of their recycling waste instead.

People living in Eastbourne and Lewes District will not be affected by the change to glass collections, but will be affected by the changes to Tetra Pak collections.

Cafe granted alcohol license

Huw Oxburgh

Local Democracy Reporter

A Rye cafe has been granted a licence to serve alcohol despite neighbours objecting over concerns about noise and disturbance.

Following a hearing on Friday, a Rother District Council licensing panel granted a premises licence to The Fig in High Street – potentially allowing it to serve alcohol with food up until 22:00.

Owner Rosie Furnival told the panel she intended the cafe to be "an asset to the town".

The application had proven controversial with neighbours, with several objecting to the scheme due to concerns around public nuisance. The neighbours had raised a range of concerns, including noise from drinkers and disturbance from smokers potentially congregating around the front door.

Garden centre seeks to open cafe earlier

Huw Oxburgh

Local Democracy Reporter

Staplecross Shrub Centre
BBC

A garden centre’s bid to extend its cafe opening times by one hour has been met with criticism from parish councillors.

In an application to be considered by Rother District Council on 18 April, the Staplecross Shrub Centre, near Robertsbridge in East Sussex, is seeking permission to vary conditions on its railway car cafe’s opening hours, allowing it to open at 08:00 instead of 09:00.

Its owners say the change would bring the cafe’s opening hours in line with those of the main business, mitigate against earlier winter closing times, and enable it to compete with other garden centres nearby.

Ewhurst Parish Council, along with two people living near the site, have opposed the application.

The root of the dispute goes back to 2016, when an earlier application sought to extend opening times to between 09:00 and 23:00 each day.

It was refused by planners but taken to appeal, resulting in opening hours being set from 09:00 to 18:00.

The parish council argues this appeal decision should be respected as the inspector took into account the potential disturbance to the garden centre’s neighbours at the time.

Neighbours have also raised concerns about light pollution and say the earlier opening hours would "harm the character of the area".

Rother planning officers have recommended the proposed opening hours be approved, saying that 08:00 "can reasonably be considered by many to be part of the working day".