Last staff leave the Dental Board

Dental Practice Board
Dental Practice Board

THE LAST of the Dental Board staff have moved out after a history of more than 60 years at the site.

The dental board, along with Lottbridge Drove’s old Bird’s Eye factory, was the biggest employer in the town for many years and took around 38 million dental claim forms each year at its busiest time.

It was extended heavily to provide large office spaces and facilities for the staff.

Simon Meader, who worked at the site for 30 years, said, “Most people know someone who has worked here. There have been two or three generations that have worked here.”

However, the staff have been greatly reduced in numbers for some time and on Friday (July 6) the last of the dental board workers moved out of the already almost empty site to smaller offices in Eastbourne town centre.

The original part of the building was used as a public school until the late 1930s, when it was evacuated during the war before becoming the Dental Estimates Board in 1948.

Now a group of teachers have a dream to turn it back in to a school and have been anxiously waiting for the Department of Education to tell them whether their application for a free school at the site has been accepted.

East Sussex Free School group eyed up the site earlier this year and are moments away from finding out whether they will be given the go-ahead to turn it in to a school for primary pupils through to sixth form.

Heidi Chaplin said, “The East Sussex Free School steering group are waiting on tenterhooks to receive the all-important news from the Department for Education. “We are feeling confident that the proposed free school will be granted approval as there is huge need and demand for an all-through school in the area.

“Upon approval, one of the initial priorities will be to secure the proposed site at the Dental Estimates Board.”

The steering group were expecting a result this week but had not heard anything when the Herald went to press yesterday afternoon (July 12).