Call for sale of former St Anne’s School in Lewes to be delayed

Boarded-up former St Anne's School.
Boarded-up former St Anne's School.

A councillor has called for the sale of the former St Anne’s School in Lewes to be delayed until residents’ concerns have been addressed.

A group of residents met on Friday to discuss their worries about the sale to Subud, an international association of people who share a spiritual experience known as the latihan. The Subud Lewes Group has its current base in Station Street.

They felt ‘several basic democratic principles appear to have been ignored when East Sussex County Council chose to sell this valuable 4.4 acre site next to County Hall to an organisation that had bid less than others’.

They also said the process which led to this decision was ‘not transparent and remains obscured’.

The group welcomes the news that cllr for Ringmer and Lewes Bridge Rosalyn St Pierre has submitted a request to delay the closure of the sale until the concerns of the Lewes Residents are met.

Annabel Frost, a spokesman for the group, said: “This process has been carried out in such a way that local people who, after all, own the site, have not been able to see how and why one organisation has been chosen above others.

“We call upon the county council to make this transaction transparent and accountable before it is completed.”

Residents were ‘gravely concerned’ the results of consultation were not part of the final plan and that the benefit to the Lewes community is ‘minimal’.

At a time when Lewes is committed to find space for additional homes within its boundary, it seems remarkable that the preferred organisation appears to have no plans to build any homes on the site, they said.

As well as an immediate halt on the sale, the group asks County Halll to release details of the three bids for the site ‘with open clarification of the terms under which the sale is being made.

The group is holding a public meeting in the Council Chamber of Lewes Town Hall at 7.30pm on Wednesday September 3 to give concerned residents a chance to ‘add their own voice to the call to postpone the sale and restore transparency to the process’.

Representatives from East Sussex County Council, the bidding organisations and other interested groups will be invited to attend.

Readers who share the group’s concern and would like to know more can contact the group by emailing, or calling 07884 183555.