Calls for change at old school site

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Upset residents in Newhaven have called on East Sussex County Council to do something with a derelict school site as it is ‘going to waste’ and causing problems.

Grays Infant School closed in 2014 as it was deemed ‘surplus to requirements’, but the building has yet to be given a new lease of life by the council.

However, nearby residents are unhappy the building continues to lie empty as it is encouraging anti-social behaviour and causing issues with wildlife.

Melanie Wiggett said: “I live directly opposite Grays Infant School, which has been empty for about 18 months now.

“There is absolutely no security on the building, so kids are able to get inside. There have been a couple of times we’ve had to call the police.

“The other problem is with foxes. I’m aware they were here before us but when the school was occupied, it wasn’t such a problem. They’ve become a lot braver now, coming out during the day. I have six or seven sat on my driveway at any time, and it winds my dogs up a treat. We can’t leave anything outdoors - my five-year-old daughter left a doll in the back garden and the next day, it had been torn to shreds. “The thing that upsets most residents though, is the waste. Everything inside the school was left behind - apparatus, old uniforms, things that could have been donated to good causes. It’s just sat there. I would go in, get it and give it to charity, but then I would be done for theft.

“As a whole, we’re having noticeably more problems in the area now than when the school was occupied. The lack of security means people coming and going to the site, breaking into the building. It doesn’t make us feel very safe.”

Questions have also been asked as to why the disused site, on Western Road, hasn’t been picked as a location for one of the numerous new developments being built across Newhaven, particularly as people are protesting about the use of other sites earmarked for new houses.

A spokesperson for East Sussex County Council said: “When disposing of land, we must follow a legal process to ensure the council achieves the best value for the site. This process is ongoing and we will be marketing the site as soon as this is complete.

“We have not been approached directly regarding antisocial behaviour and there has been no damage caused to the property, but we would be happy to discuss any concerns with members of the public.”

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