Community centre to shrink

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Questions about the redevelopment of Tilling Green’s old school site were not answered at Thursday’s Town Meeting, but were passed on to the Rye Partnership’s Annual Meeting a week later – to take place on March 12 in the former school. Plans for the site were questioned by Tilling Green resident John Wylie, who writes on Rye News‘s Opinions page (see Tilling Green ‘rethink needed’). He said he was speaking as an individual and not on behalf of the Tilling Green Residents’ Association, and had concerns that the proposed new community centre would not be viable.

The proposed plans include a community centre which will serve not just Tilling Green, but also 30 new homes on the school site as well as the Valley Park development – which will now have 161 homes when it is complete. However, Valley Park has no communal facilities, none are proposed and a large number of the homes (like those on the school site) are social housing.

The plans for the new Tilling Green Community Centre are for a new two-storey building around two-thirds of the size of the existing building, but with half that space (the top floor) then occupied by the Rye Partnership. The Partnership currently only has an office in the old school building, which is much less than half the total space available in the former school (which has a large hall and a number of classrooms). The Partnership tendered to Rother District Council in 2010 to run the community centre, but it is not clear they intend to run the new community centre. Planning permission will have to be sought in due course from Rother.

Wylie argues that other designs should be considered and there should be greater involvement of Tilling Green residents. Valley Park residents have not been consulted at all to date. On behalf of Rye Partnership, Councillor Keith Glazier (leader of East Sussex County Council, which owns the old school site) said Wylie’s comments had been passed to Amicus and more information would be available at the Partnership’s Annual Meeting on Thursday March 12 at 6pm in the old school, the current Tilling Green Community Centre.

Questions were also asked at the Town Meeting about what the Partnership was doing for local business and Cllr Glazier said information would also be available on this at the Partnership AGM – which another questioner complained had not been well publicised. In 2009 a National Audit Office report to the Government criticised the Partnership’s communications.

Photo: Kenneth Bird