New primary school proposed for Hailsham

Hailsham high street
Hailsham high street
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A consultation into proposals to build a new primary academy or free school in Hailsham has been launched.

The consultation by East Sussex County Council comes after Wealden District Council approved plans for 460 new homes in New Road, Hailsham.

The housing development is part of the district council’s Strategic Sites Local Plan which will see more than 4,000 new homes built in Wealden by 2027. It is thought around 3,000 of these will be built in Hailsham.

At a district council planning meeting held last week, residents and councillors raised concerns about primary school provision and the need for a new school in the town. They called for a new school, after fears existing schools will not cope with the increasing number of children.

Now the county council has successfully bid for Government funding to establish a new primary school in the south of the town at Ingrams Way.

It is also in discussion with developers about a new school in north Hailsham.

The proposal documents state that there will be an estimated shortfall of 30 school places in the town by 2014/15 which increases to 100 in 2015/16. In the longer term it forecasts a shortfall of 590 places.

The proposal states that the volume of new housing is likely to significantly increase future births in the area.

To cope with the shortfall, next year additional spaces will be established at existing schools. But by 2015 the council wants a one form of entry, 210 place primary school at Ingrams Way and in the longer term a 420 place primary school built to the north of Hailsham.

The schools would be built in two phases. The Ingrams Way school (the first phase) would be built on local authority owned land while the second phase would be on land in a proposed housing development site in North Hailsham.

The cost of the Ingrams Way school would be £4.5million to build. The money was funded by the government’s Targeted Basic Need programme. Construction on the school would begin in 2014 and 2015.

Academies and free schools are independent schools not maintained by the local authority but it remains the county council’s role to plan and secure sufficient school spaces.

The consultation, ending on September 27, wants to hear from groups and organisations possibly interested in running a new academy or free school, as well as residents’ views. The consultation is only about the Ingrams Way school site.

A county council spokesman said: “We recognise the need for additional school places in Hailsham in the future and are already working towards providing these places. We will be discussing options for September 2014 with existing schools.

“East Sussex County Council has also successfully bid for Government funding to establish a new primary school in the south of the town. We are also in discussion with developers about a new school in north Hailsham where a significant housing development is proposed.”