Plans to make fresh start at school ‘with asbestos fears’

Chailey School ... the main buildings have been described as 'unfit for purpose'
Chailey School ... the main buildings have been described as 'unfit for purpose'

A planning application to demolish and replace the main buildings at Chailey School has been recommended for refusal.

It is proposed to develop a new two- and part three-storey school building, a Multi Use Games Area and a temporary access point for construction purposes.

Lewes District Council’s Planning Applications Committee is due to consider the scheme at its meeting on Wednesday, July 18.

The agenda states the main school buildings are deemed ‘unfit for purpose due to the possible presence of asbestos, poor condition of the WCs, fractured brickwork and decaying external timber, all of which would have been prohibitively costly for the school’s maintenance budget’.

Chailey School was largely built in the 1950s and currently has 732 pupils. This would rise to 810 should permission by approved. The school would remain open during construction work, estimated to last a year.

Ten letters of objection have been received from people living adjacent to the school site, on grounds including a detrimental impact on residential amenity and privacy, overshadowing, impact of the temporary access road, impact on bats and ‘brutal architecture’.

District council officers have recommended refusal. They consider the proposed development, due to its location, height and form, ‘would have an unacceptable and detrimental impact on the amenities of the existing neighbouring residential occupiers in number 1 and 2 Maplehurst through its overbearing nature, and resulting overshadowing and loss of privacy’. They further consider ‘the proposal does not make provision for adequate visibility at the junction of the access with the public highway and would be detrimental to highway safety, resulting in severe highway impacts’.

And officers do not believe adequate information has been submitted to satisfy the planning authority that the proposal is acceptable in terms of vehicle and pedestrian access, visibility splays, parking, road construction, road gradients, surface water drainage, and on-site turning facilities.