Swiss school making lives ‘hell’ say locals

Didac language school Trinity Trees Eastbourne. January 9th 2013 E02235P
Didac language school Trinity Trees Eastbourne. January 9th 2013 E02235P

Residents have lost their fight to stop a language school they say is making their lives ‘helL’ from opening longer.

They hoped to block plans by the Didac Swiss School in Trinity Trees to open later on some evenings and all day on Saturdays.

But members of Eastbourne Borough Council’s planning committee agreed the extended opening hours at a meeting on Tuesday despite fierce objections from neighbours living nearby, who said they had put up with years of anti social behaviour.

The school was originally given permission to open its doors in 1998 but was unaware of conditions restricting its opening times.

It has for a number of years opened on Tuesday and Thursday evenings to offer clubs and activities to students and on Saturdays for exams to be held.

But residents said there had been a catalogue of anti social behaviour problems which the council had been unable to resolve.

They recently took their fight to Eastbourne MP Stephen Lloyd.

Marie Hennelly, who lives next door to the school, said, “We have put up with a variety of problems with the school and it’s hell living in Trinity Trees.”

Conservative councillor for the area David Elkin said the school had caused “no end of problems” for the residents.

“Didac does not run a responsible ship,” said Councillor Elkin.

Brent Dyer from the school, which offers a years education to Swiss nationals wishing to study in Eastbourne, said measures had been taken to stop the anti social problems and the later opening hours were needed to provide a “safe haven” for the students who are all under 18.

Mr Dyer said, “They are 15-year-olds studying in a town which does not offer a lot to do if you are under 18. We want to provide a safe haven for them.

“It is also worth noting there are other language schools within the town including 8 Trinity Trees that operate without time restriction.”

Mr Dyer said a caretaker had been appointed for the building to try and curb problems.