School’s sports hall plans fall at first hurdle

George Meadow, Battle. 4/2/14
George Meadow, Battle. 4/2/14

A BID to build a new sports hall in the heart of Battle has fallen at the first hurdle.

Earlier this month, Battle Abbey School revealed it hoped to build a new indoor sports facility on land at George Meadow, by the town’s cricket pitch.

But Battle Town Council, which owns the land, rejected an appeal from the school to make the land available for development.

A number of residents attended Tuesday’s town council meeting to express their concerns about the sports hall proposals.

Councillors held a vote, with nine members voting against making the land available to Battle Abbey School.

Two voted in favour and there was one abstention.

Town clerk Carol Harris told the Observer that the council wanted to protect the area surrounding the Abbey from development.

She said: “We have agreed we are not going to support that proposal, particularly because the land was purchased with the idea of there being no development on that land.

“We feel that land is important to our heritage and no development should take place on that land.”

James Dennett, marketing manager at Battle Abbey School, said: “We are obviously disappointed with the decision.

“The proposed development had promised to be a fantastic facility for both the school and the Battle community.

“We are still looking at other alternative sites in the area and would of course be willing to work with Battle Town Council in finalising a site that would be beneficial for all.”

The school has not revealed further details about the alternative sites.

The school previously told the Observer that ideally it wanted a site within walking distance of the school.

Battle Abbey said the new facility would be available for community use and available to hire at a reduced cost to charitable organisations.

The school has claimed the facility could create as many as 10 new full and part time jobs.