Building boom hits schools


As house building booms in Rye, education needs have jumped on to the agenda for the town’s neighbourhood plan.

Last month, Rother District Council approved an additional 26 homes in Valley Park and the work is well under way. Building work also started this month on homes in Udimore Road by the Tillingham Bridge, at the old garage site in Cinque Ports Street, and at the entrance to Deadmans Lane.

The Valley Park development by Aroncorp was initially, in 2007, for 135 homes, but sales and building work slumped in recent years. Meanwhile, the final phase has nearly doubled in size and density to 50 homes, including both flats and large homes.

Nine flats above shops and a house are being built on the Cinque Ports Street site and, on Udimore Road four homes are planned for the site of a former garden nursery. Developments at Deadmans Lane involve a further four homes.

The neighbourhood plan, if agreed in a referendum, will determine the town’s future planning needs, and the recently circulated survey included a question on education at the last minute. “Despite the expansion of the Rye Academy Trust and Primary School,” says the survey, “there is concern about the way The Grove and Love Lane campuses will meet future needs.”

Recently Rye Community Primary School sought planning permission to teach children in temporary classes for an initial three years. The current 335 pupils are expected to increase to 345 for the next school year and then to 370 the following year. But the planning application adds “new housing planned for the area will put further pressure on school places” and two-form entry might be under consideration.

Rother council’s “local plan” calls for an additional 400 dwellings in Rye by 2028 (but with around 160-200 already planned or committed), and the neighbourhood plan survey asks whether educational facilities should be reviewed to ensure they are adequate to meet forecast student numbers.

The primary school could put temporary classrooms, or build, on the playground and hard standing, but alternative play space would then be needed, probably at the expense of local allotments and the new community garden.

Available space for expansion became limited when nearby land was sold off some years ago for the “yet to happen” supermarket development by J Sainsbury.


Photo: Dan Lake

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