College accused of ‘Fraud’ over Lion St promise

College Row
College Row

RYE residents are being urged to remind Sussex South Coast College of its promise to use funds from the sale of the FE Centre to improve education in Rye.

Back in 2010 then principal Sue Middlehurst pledged to a packed Rye Town Annual Meeting that every penny from the sale of the Lion Street site would be ploughed back into Rye, suggesting it could be used for a new centre on the Rye College.

Now college bosses claim no definitive promise was ever made.

Cllr John Breeds said: “This stance is appalling. A large number of people were at that meeting when their head publicly stated the money would be used for post 16 education in Rye.”

Cllr Mike Eves said: “This is close to fraud. I have a letter from one of their governors saying the money would be used here.”

Rye Deputy Mayor Cllr Bernardine Fiddimore said: “This was not just a throw-away comment made by the college - we were promised repeatedly.”

Cllr Ian Potter said: “We have spent a significant length of time trying to resolve this and we have got nowhere.”

The council voted to ask the public for support in backing its claims that the college made a specific promise.

Tony Campbell, chair of Sussex Coast College Hastings Corporation, said, in a letter to Rye Council: “The Corporation have studied this matter in detail and do not agree that they gave a definitive statement of intent with regard to the reinvestment of funds from the sale of the Lion Street site.

“Financial circumstances at the college do not permit the Corporation to amiably settle this matter irrespective of past discussions.

“It is a matter of fact outlined in the college’s mission statement that the college serves the communities of Hastings and Rother providing both further and higher education facilities and access.

“This includes the youth and adult community in Rye and the surrounding area.”