Decision due on Hailsham Community College’s expansion plans

Plans to expand Hailsham Community College are set to go before county council planners next week. 

Wednesday, 11th November 2020, 3:09 pm

On Wednesday (November 18), East Sussex County council’s planning committee are to consider proposals to demolish part of an existing craft block at the secondary school in Battle Road, replacing it with a purpose-built three-storey teaching block. 

According to planning documents, the new building would allow the school to increase its roll by 370, 70 of whom would be sixth form students. This means the school would have a total roll of 1,800 students, including 300 sixth formers.

In a report to the committee, a council planning officer said: “Owing to the substantial amount of new housing planned to be constructed in Hailsham and the surrounding area, there will be a resulting increase in pupil numbers over the coming years. 

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“The East Sussex School Organisational Plan 2019-2023 identifies there would be an estimated shortfall of one form-entry in 2021/22. 

“There is a clear need for permanent school places to support the growing population.”

The proposal also includes the construction of a new all-weather sports pitch, for use by both the college and the wider community. 

There would also be a significant increase in the number of on-site parking spaces, rising from around 76 to 117. 

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While recommended for approval, the proposals have seen some concerns raised by some local residents. 

In all the council received ten representations from local residents, raising concerns around parking pressure during school drop-off and pick-up times, overlooking from the new building as well as noise and light pollution from the new sports pitch. 

Several concerns have also been raised by residents of The Cedars Residents’ Association due to a proposed pedestrian access from the school on to the Cuckoo Trail, part of which runs through The Cedars Estate.

The residents’ association raised concerns related to an increase in parking by parents and sixth form students on the private road, as well as increased footfall through the estate and the danger posed by the potential increase in cyclists using the Cuckoo Trail through the estate. 

Concerns around parking pressures have also been raised by East Sussex Highways, although it is satisfied that the provision of a travel plan and improvements to the pedestrian access would be effective in reducing this pressure.

The provision of additional on-site parking spaces for staff, East Sussex Highways says, would also reduce on-street parking pressures in the area.

For further details of the proposals see application reference WD/3423/CC on the East Sussex County Council planning website.