New primary school gets go-ahead in Hailsham

The greenfield site borders Ingrams Way and Sandbanks Way
The greenfield site borders Ingrams Way and Sandbanks Way

A new primary school in Hailsham has been given the green light by planners after it was submitted to the council a second time.

The designs were for a 210-pupil primary school and 38-pupil nursery, run by academy sponsor Lilac Sky.

I like many others am extremely happy with the outcome of today’s planning meeting

Helen Deehan

The greenfield site, which borders Ingrams Way and Sandbanks Way had been earmarked as a school site for decades by Wealden District Council.

But it hasn’t all been smooth sailing.

The plan was submitted by East Sussex County Council to its own planning committee in November, with a view to open the school the following September.

The academy sponsor had even set up a meeting for the parents of potential students.

But in a bizarre twist, councillors turned down its own plans for the new school, citing loss of green space, the traffic impact and the loss of privacy for residents.

So the approval of the school the second time around was a relief for parents who set up a campaign group on Facebook for more school places in the town.

Helen Deehan, who set up the campaign group with Rosalynn Holbrook, said, “I like many others am extremely happy with the outcome of today’s planning meeting. Hailsham Academy looks set to be an outstanding school and an asset to Hailsham.”

Another mum, Amy Walker, said, “Excellent news. Well done everyone that contributed. For once the right and proper outcome has been achieved. I have to say I’m shocked but also very pleased.”

James Golding said, “Great effort from all involved - and Lilac are aiming for an ‘outstanding’ within two years - that’s the kind of positivity we need in our local schools!”

However, the plans did see more than one hundred objections from local residents, who said the site was the wring place for a school.

An East Sussex County Council spokesman said, “We are delighted that the new primary school in Hailsham has been given planning permission.

“Children with places at the new school will be accommodated at Lilac Sky’s White House Academy from September, while the new building is completed during the 2015/16 academic year.”

CEO of Lilac Sky, Chris Bowler, said, “We are really excited about it, it is a fantastic opportunity to build a centre of excellence in Hailsham.”