Arts and community to benefit from new centre

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RYE’S Lion Street FE Centre has been saved for the community following a two year fight.

The landmark building, in the heart of the Citadel area, would have been turned into luxury flats if owners Hastings Sussex Coast College had their way.

Now it will become an arts centre complex with a new theatre and two screen cinema for the whole community to enjoy, while part of it has been acquired by St Mary’s Church for church and wider community use.

The Church joined forces with community interest company Fletcher in Rye to buy the FE Centre from the College for an undisclosed sum rumoured to be more than a quarter of a million pounds.

The College paid just a token £1 when they acquire the site from East Sussex County Council to provide adult education courses in the town.

St Mary’s Rector Canon David Frost said: “This is great news for the community.”

Hugh Kermode, from the Fletcher Group, said: “This will enable us to preserve Rye’s heritage by establishing a creative and sustainable use for this historic but potentially redundant building.