Behind its broken fencing-board and rat-infested undergrowth, Rye’s ugliest, most infamous, most persistent area of dereliction now hopefully enters a new phase of life in what must be its 18th year of “bombsite’”status. Unwanted by either Tesco or Sainsbury’s, has it now been embraced by the Rye Academy Trust? Both the primary school and the college have run out of space and the former Lower School site would complete a perfect campus for 5 to 18 year-olds around a shared sports field.
No one anywhere in the public sector has had any money to spend in these last few years, yet academies are still being built all over England, even where they are least needed. We can only hope that our nursery, primary school and college manage to attract the funding their undoubted quality of teaching and care deserves.
There was a fear that history might scupper efforts to return the Lower School site to use for education. After all, East Sussex County Council politicians in Lewes are the ones who knocked down the original school in the first place; politicians in Lewes, having neglected the site for 15 years, then allowed Sainsbury’s and Tesco to start the whole ludicrous supermarket stand-off. Finally, the same councillors and officers are responsible for building the new primary school in a ridiculously confined area of a local flood plain, with the predictable result that, only a few years after completion, their successful flagship school is not only taking on water like a sinking ship but is oversubscribed with no room to expand, having to hire mobile classrooms.
If the new site is allowed to resolve these problems, public goodwill have triumphed, and all those concerned can move beyond previous mistakes and be applauded.