Rye Harbour villagers launch campaign in protest at company’s development plans
Residents in Rye Harbour have set up a campaign in protest at a company’s plans to operate 24 hours a day.
Long Rake Spar has submitted a planning application to Rother District Council to vary several planning conditions imposed on a 2017 application granted by the authority.
Three years ago, it granted Long Rake Spar permission to make an extension to its existing industrial buildings, relocate its boundary fence, and put in new landscaping.
The conditions the firm, which is based in Derbyshire, wants to vary include extended operating times and alter landscaping details.
But residents are unhappy and have signed an online petition in protest, which gained more than 300 signatures in two days.
Villagers also met with the company at a meeting on Tuesday evening (August 11).
John Hornig, who lives in Harbour Road, said: “They are currently operating at all hours of the day and night, creating enormous amounts of noise at all hours.
“We have tipping of lorries, clattering of tailgates and loader buckets, reversing sirens, crashing of metal and beeping from 4am through to around 2am some days, and constant streams of HGVs on a daily basis.
“The noise is incredible. There are so many reversing sirens they blend into one constant beep that persists for hours on end.
“They’ve just submitted a planning application for 24 hour working, floodlighting at night, an expansion of their operations and unlimited HGV movements, and we’re really concerned.
“One of the important elements of the application is a request to point their extractor fan outlets into the nature reserve and towards Rye, so they can run them all night. We currently hear them during the day and it’s not something you want at night. “At the moment we’re getting our sleep disrupted, can’t enjoy our gardens and are finding it extremely stressful.”
“It turns out people across Rye Harbour, Rye and Winchelsea are being affected by dust, noise pollution and Long Rake Spar’s flood lighting and it’s evident people are really concerned about the potential impacts this would have on traffic, the village, wildlife and all the local businesses that rely on tourism and the nature reserve.”
Trevor Broadhurst, managing director and owner of Long Rake Spar, said: “Long Rake Spar is committed to being considerate operators in the locations that we work and welcome expressions of concern through constructive discussion.
“We have temporarily extended our working hours in order to protect the health and safety of our team and ensure social distancing on site. To achieve this we have extended our shift patterns to maintain production levels, safeguard jobs and continue to support the local economy.
“During this period of economic uncertainty we have been fortunate to experience increased demand for our products to aid nationwide building and construction efforts. As a result of this we have created new positions and have widened our recruitment, providing long-term, stable employment within the local area.
“We have increased employee numbers from an initial three members of staff to 15 and with the permission of the local authority to extend working times we hope to employ an additional five employees.
“Rye Harbour is a region of busy dockside and manufacturing industry with the movement of lorries a necessity to the viability of all businesses, including Long Rake Spar, in this location.
“We aim to run our production activity as efficiently as possible and minimising the impact to the local environment and community is an ongoing concern and priority.
“We are committed to working with local authorities, planning committees and architects to minimise light and noise pollution and once a decision has been agreed on the best means to progress, we will carry this out with immediate effect.
“It is our intention to run a clean, low dust operation site, not only for the benefit of local residents but for the welfare of our workforce.
“We have recently invested substantial amounts in cleaner surfacing across the site to minimise dust generated from vehicles running across rough ground.
“However this is an ongoing project and we will do our utmost to continue to improve.
“We have already made considerable efforts to mitigate the impact of operations on residents including additional dust suppression units on the plant, upgraded silencing equipment on drying machinery and have made provision for a bund perimeter boundary around the site with an additional tree planting scheme to greatly enhance the appearance of the site and reduce noise and light pollution which will take place in the autumn.
“We aim to achieve a positive dialogue through the appropriate channels and are in constant communication with Rother District Council and local planning authorities.”