Rother District Council consulted on the strategic direction and priorities for the public realm across the Rother district.  This consultation is now closed but updates will be provided here.

Update November 2019:  The public realm framework is on the agenda of Overview and Scrutiny Committee 25 November 2019 that includes consultation feedback.

VIEWS were sought on a plan to safeguard the unique character of public spaces and features across the district. 

Rother District Council had set out priorities for the management and maintenance of the public realm, including pavement and road surfaces, street furniture, signage, post boxes, telephone kiosks, street trees and planting, to ensure a more co-coordinated and consistent approach.

While no single organisation is responsible for the appearance of these, the district council hoped its Public Realm Strategic Framework will act as a guide for improvement.

We wanted to hear about whether you agreed and disagreed with what we think is important and if there were any local conditions that would affect delivery. 

You can download the draft document:  Public Realm Strategic Framework

Question on the Strategic Framework document can by emailed to or by post to Public Realm Consultation, Rother District Council, Town Hall, Bexhill on Sea, TN39 3JX 

Large print and other versions of the documents are available on request: email

Update for 11 March 2019:

Over the consultation period we heard from a number of residents and 21 local and regional organisations:

  • Cantelupe Community Association
  • Robertsbridge and Salehurst Parish Council
  • Bexhill Old Town Preservation Society
  • Rye Conservation Society
  • Highways England
  • Battle Town Council
  • Whatlington Parish Council
  • Southern Gas Networks
  • Crowhurst Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group
  • Icklesham Parish Council
  • Bexhill Heritage
  • Fairlight Parish Council
  • Southern Water
  • Ticehurst Parish Council
  • Sussex Strategic Business Board
  • Northiam Conservation Society
  • Ewhurst Parish Council
  • Rye Town Council
  • Battle Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group
  • Salehurst Parish Council
  • Beautiful Battle

Consultation Background

This draft Strategic Framework is an outcome of the work of Rother District Council’s Public Realm Working Group.  It was written following that group’s research over a two year period, including interviewing many local stakeholder groups and organisations, reviewing local issues, and considering national best practice examples.  This Council recognises that quality public realm has the power to inspire joy, a sense of well-being, community and civic pride, and the economic prosperity of a place.

The draft Strategic Framework is a document that sets out the vision, objectives and key principles for the public realm in Rother district. 

We want to encourage a more co-coordinated and consistent approach to the design, quality, maintenance and appearance of the public ream throughout the district and hope the framework will help to promote local distinctiveness.

We are consulting with a variety of key stakeholders and organisations.  This is because we want to hear about any specific local issues that are missed from the draft strategy or where a principle or approach may not work because of specific local conditions.  In addition, we are looking for stakeholder organisations to sign up to the strategy and partners to help deliver the strategy.

Frequently Asked Questions

1.  What is the public realm?

The term public realm is used in this context to include the spaces between buildings that are in public ownership and are open and accessible to all to go about their daily lives.  This includes squares, streets, lanes, pavements, all the surfacing, furniture and fixings and other elements that are provided for common use such as lighting, street furniture, telephone kiosks, post boxes, railings, signage, nameplates, shelters, line painting, trees and planting.  Together these elements make up the public streetscape and, over time, contribute to the sense of place and heritage.

2.  What is not included in the public realm strategic framework?

Parks and recreation grounds, allotments, beaches and cemeteries, although they are part of the public realm, are not in the scope of this framework.  The reason is because they are subject to a different range of strategies and management regimes.

Equally, the frontages of shops, offices and residential development, though clearly influencing the quality of the public realm, are considered as ‘private realm’ issues, subject to separate enforcement regimes, and have therefore not been included in the Framework.

3.  Who is responsible for the public realm in Rother?

No single organisation is individually responsible or accountable for the overall appearance of the district’s public realm, but rather a range of local authorities, statutory undertakers and other agencies and organisations, including:

  • Rother District Council
  • East Sussex County Council
  • Other government agencies, e.g. Highways England, the Environment Agency and National Rail
  • Statutory utilities undertakers –  the organisations providing infrastructure to supply utilities such as gas, water, telephones, etc.
  • Town and parish councils
  • Local amenity societies and other volunteer groups
  • Developers (building companies, developing both housing and commercial sites)

Successful management of Rother’s public realm requires a coordinated multi-agency approach. The detailed roles and responsibilities of each are set out in Section 3 of the Strategic Framework.

4.  Why doesn’t the framework include detailed proposals or schemes for my town or village?

The Strategic Framework is written to provide an overview of the current quality and condition of the public realm across the district.  Its role is to set out the priorities and principles for public realm management, its maintenance and potential intervention.  It sets out a number of future actions that will have to be developed through a collaborative, multi-agency approach.

Detailed and place-specific public realm proposals will be developed in other policy and delivery mechanisms, including, for example, the Development & Site Allocations Local Plan, Neighbourhood Plans, supplementary planning documents, Local Transport Plans, and negotiated stakeholder protocols.

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