An exhibition to show off plans for the new Gildredge House Free School was held this week to consult local residents.
The steering group behind Gildredge House plans to open a school for four to 19-year-olds at the old Dental Estimates Board site in Compton Place Road next year.
The school has been given the go-ahead by the Department of Education but has not yet received the planning permission it needs to make the changes to the old dental estimates building and its surrounding grounds.
On Monday evening (February 4), the architect for the new school and those who have worked on the proposals were on hand to answer questions.
The plans, including artist impressions, were on show ahead of the school’s planning application to Eastbourne Borough Council, which is due to be submitted shortly.
The neighbouring residents, some of whom had already raised concerns about noise, were invited to attend the exhibition.
Architect Matt Hayes explained he had been working with the school for the last three to four months.
He said, “We have been going through some really detailed plans about how we can work with the school’s educational aspirations.”
Mr Hayes said he was pleased with the plans for the ‘central heart space’ - a three-storey building built around the central staircase within the school.
Mr Hayes said the planning application would soon go in to Eastbourne Borough Council and if granted approval, the school would start taking pupils in September this year.
He said, “It is going to be a very tight programme.”
However, the school team and its architects are not expecting to complete the whole project within the next seven months.
The work will take place in stages as the number of pupils slowly increases over the next five years.
Reception and Year Seven will be introduced this year. There will be two Reception classes of 28 and six Year seven classes of 20 pupils.
Other year groups will then be introduced and the school is expected to reach its full capacity, with all building work complete, by 2018.
Organisers of the exhibition said there had been a good turnout on Monday night.
Mr Hayes said he had received lots of positive feedback about the proposals.
He said the architects and the school team had taken steps to address any previously raised concerns by the neighbours.
Mr Hayes said the outdoor areas which were close to residential properties would be used as supervised teaching areas such as environmental gardens, quiet space and horticultural studies. He explained theses areas would create ‘acoustic barriers’ and that the supports facilities would be at the front of the building away from the homes.
He said, “We have listened to those concerns and adjusted our plans .”