Polegate school’s expansion agreed

Expansion of Polegate Primary School
Expansion of Polegate Primary School

Plans to expand Polegate Primary School have been approved by county councillors.

The school in Oakleaf Drive currently has space for 420 pupils but is looking to accommodate a total of 630 children by 2026 by taking on a third form of entry.

A new two-storey extension is proposed at the front of the school to provide a new main hall, classrooms and a new entrance.

The existing hall would be adapted into teaching space, a second multi-use games area would be provided and around half the public play park will be lost to provide extra car parking.

An application for the changes was approved by East Sussex County Council’s Planning Committee on Wednesday May 31, subject to the decision not being called-in by the Secretary of State.

David Vickers, principal planner at the council, said: “The proposal makes the most of an awkward site with historical constraints which have developed through piecemeal development.”

Bob Bowdler (Con, Hailsham Market) called the project ‘admirable’ but did not like the loss of the play area space.

Godfrey Daniel (Lab, Hastings - Braybrooke and Castle) suggested they defer a decision for a site visit as the large increase in pupil numbers would have ‘major parking and traffic implications’.

He added: “There’s a need there for school places but really I think we need to build a new school rather than shove even more stuff on to a constrained site.”

Pat Rodohan (LDem, Eastbourne - Upperton) agreed that the changes were a short-term solution and given the increase in population the council would have to look at the option of a new school at some point.

But Barry Taylor (Con, Eastbourne - Meads) argued against a site visit and felt they should approved the application instead.

He said: “It’s a successful school and they want to improve that and make it even better and meet the needs of the children who will be going there.”

Tom Liddiard (Con, Pevensey and Stone Cross) also raised issues with traffic and labelled the reduction in play space ‘regrettable’.

Rather than having an extension that was ‘bold and contemporary’ he suggested the design should fit in with buildings in the surrounding area.

But he added: “I do not believe in any way, shape or form a site visit is going to achieve anything.”

A proposal to defer the application for a site visit was defeated and the plans were then approved.