New school and community facility moves a step closer

A much-needed replacement primary school planned for Etchingham has taken a major step forward after Rother District Council approved the plans.

The replacement school, to be funded by East Sussex County Council, is part of a wider development that will include new community facilities that replace the existing village hall and new homes.

East Sussex County Council, the Diocese of Chichester, Etchingham Parish Council and Etchingham Trust for Sports and Recreation have been working in partnership with the landowner and their appointed developer, Millwood Designer Homes Limited, to create the mixed development on land known locally as the Lambing Field.

The proposed school with community facilities, which it is hoped will be open by September 2014, will be located in the front of the field immediately to the west of the village. The scheme includes pedestrian access to the High Street to ensure that the site is safely connected to the village.

Last year, the County Council approved more than £5m in its Capital Programme, part of the County Council’s £500m budget for growth, to replace the village’s Victorian school buildings. The Parish Council with the landowner is contributing to the replacement of the village hall.

Members of the District Council’s planning committee unanimously approved the scheme with certain conditions that will now be addressed.

Keith Glazier, County Council deputy leader, said: “This is very good news. We will work closely with the Parish Council to make this work and I am confident that we will be able to provide the village with a state-of-the-art school and community facility fit for 21st Century learning.

“We have worked hard with our partners to make this happen and we’ve had the support of the local community. It’s a major development for Etchingham and the new school, village hall and housing will mark a new chapter in the village’s history.”