College looking for new owner for Pyke House

16/4/13- Pyke House, Battle
16/4/13- Pyke House, Battle
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AN EDUCATIONAL facility in Battle is looking for a new owner.

Sussex Coast College, formerly Hastings College, has been responsible for Pyke House in Upper Lake more than 30 years.

But the college has said the building no longer suits its needs and is looking for someone to take over responsibilty for the facility.

Naomi Robinson, marketing and communications manager at Sussex Coast College, said: “The college’s position has changed drastically over the last four years and we are really fortunate to have incredible new buildings in Hastings town centre which is suitable for all our students.

“Pyke House has served us well over the years, but it has reached the end of its usefulness for us.”

She added that there were also issues with disabled access to the building.

Sussex Coast College stopped hosting residential visits at Pyke House in early 2008 and students stopped using the facility in 2010.

The college has continued to maintain the building, including keeping the heating on all winter in a bid to keep Pyke House in good condition for the new owners.

Sussex Coast College recently wrote to Battle Town Council, asking for suggestions over who could take over Pyke House.

The property is a charity and must be used for educational purposes.

Debating the issue at a recent meeting, one town councillor said her research had revealed that Pyke House costs £26,000 a year to run.

Cllr Margaret Kiloh added: “It’s not a free gift.

“There’s a lot of costs associated with it.”

Peter Mills said the college was continuing to maintain the building and had said it would carry out external repairs if a new owner had not been found by the summer months.

Councillors voted to write to the college to suggest it makes an approach to Battle Abbey School.

A spokesperson for the school said it would be willing to discuss the issue with Sussex Coast College.

James Dennett, marketing manager at Battle Abbey School, said: “Pyke House could potentially present the school with an interesting opportunity.

“Battle Abbey School is always looking for new ways to expand and develop its facilities provision for current and prospective parents, as such the location offers some interesting possibilities.

“If the conditions appeared right the idea would be something we would explore with South Coast College to investigate the extent of any opportunity.”