Ninety attend village planning exhibition

MORE than 90 people turned out to public exhibitions to see plans for a new primary school, village hall and housing in Etchingham.

The exhibitions were held as a public consultation on the proposals for a piece of land known locally as the Lambing Field.

East Sussex County Council, the Diocese of Chichester, Etchingham Parish Council and Etchingham Trust are working in partnership with landowner Dr Ahrens and his appointed developer Millwood Designer Homes Limited, to create a mixed development of housing combined with the school and village hall facilities, as set out in Rother District Council’s local plan.

The proposed school and village hall, which it is hoped will be open by September 2014, would be located in the front corner of the field immediately to the west of the village.

The scheme design includes pedestrian access to the High Street to ensure that the site is safely connected to the village.

Earlier this year East Sussex County Council agreed more than £5m in its Capital Programme, part of the council’s £500m budget for growth, to replace the village’s Victorian school buildings.

The parish council, along with the landowner, is contributing to the replacement of the village hall.

Cllr Nick Bennett, East Sussex County Council’s lead member for learning and school effectiveness said: “This is exciting news for the village and we have worked hard with our partners to make it happen.

“I’m delighted so many local people turned out at the exhibition meetings to see the plans and drawings and that there is obviously so much enthusiasm for the proposals.”

Cllr Bennett added: “It is a significant development for Etchingham and a new school and village hall will mark a new chapter in the village’s history.

“I’m delighted we’re going to be able to provide the village with a new school fit for 21st Century learning.”

Following the public meetings, the plans will now be posted on the school’s website.

The comments made by residents will now be considered before a formal planning application is made in November when Rother District Council’s planning committee will make a decision on the proposals.