County council to explore future options for St. Anne’s school site

Site of former St Annes School, Lewes SUS-140827-131034001
Site of former St Annes School, Lewes SUS-140827-131034001

Future options for the former St. Anne’s school site in Lewes are set to be formally explored by the county council it has been revealed.

Plans to lease the site to spiritual movement SUBUD was widely criticised and after nearly three years of talks contract negotiations were terminated in April this year.

St. Anne’s was a school for children with special needs closed by East Sussex County Council in 2005. Then in 2012 the authority agreed to market the property for community uses.

An officers’ report due to be discussed by ESCC’s lead member for resources this Thursday (September 15) reads: “Negotiations to transfer the site as a community asset to a preferred bidder were ended in April 2016, as announced in a joint statement from the council and Subud Britain.

“It was always recognised that the community asset transfer was an ambitious and complex project and that complications could emerge during the process.

“Both parties came to the conclusion that was not possible to transfer the site for community use in a way that meets the original aims and aspirations of both parties and is both viable and sustainable.

“The council is currently considering options for the future use and development of the former St Anne’s school site.

“The council is aware of the local priorities for the Lewes area and is liaising with Lewes District Council and town council officers in respect of the demands for housing and community facilities.

“This will inform the considerations about future use of the site.”

The lead member for resources is set to ask officers to develop options for the future of the site and bring back a business case.

Consultants will be engaged to deliver an initial report, which will include an assessment of the site and development options.

The stage one report is expected to cost between £20,000 and £30,000.

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