Uckfield school could move to new estate site

Holy Cross School (Photo by Ron Hill)
Holy Cross School (Photo by Ron Hill)

Holy Cross School, Uckfield, could be on the move.

East Sussex County Council’s education chiefs, together with the Diocese of Chichester and school governors, are considering a proposal which would move the school from Belmont Road to a new site at Ridgewood Farm.

The move takes forward a planning requirement for a new primary school serving the existing town and people living in the 1,000 new homes planned south west of Uckfield.

Cllr Mick Harker, chairman of the Uckfield Town Centre Regeneration Joint Committee, said: “At present Holy Cross is a one form entry school - that is not viable now. A two-form entry school is the way to go. There would be a higher roll and a much more modern and acceptable environment for both children and their teachers.”

Committee members were told that County has written to the Department of Education describing potential plans.

The move would automatically free up the land on which the school sits, meaning it can be included in the Uckfield redevelopment project alongside land already earmarked, owned by District, Town and County councils.

Members of the joint committee said they were concerned about commercial vehicles and building traffic posing a potential danger during construction works. But Nigel Hannam, Wealden’s director of corporate services and change management who attended the meeting, said the issue would be correctly addressed before work began.

An announcement that the school could be moving was made at a meeting with school and County representatives; Sally Collins from the Chichester diocese; Gerald Baker, chairman of governors at Holy Cross School and Mick Harker from the regeneration committee.

Cllr Harker continued: “The old school building is not necessarily in perfect condition. The Diocese and Board of Governors consider this is the right time to explore the possibility. A statement has been issued to all parents and the discussion is well within the public realm. There have been some social media posts indicating people are worried about the future of the school but there is no need to be.”

Holy Cross School was founded in 1850 by members of Holy Cross Church. At that time schools were not provided by the state and many were started by the National Society through members of churches. Holy Cross was innovative in providing for the children of Uckfield before many schools were founded.