School site protesters may now go to appeal

A CAMPAIGNER has spoken of his disappointment after plans to save a disused school site were rejected by the county council.

The Save Our School Site (SOSS) campaign had been launched to save the Willows School site, in Irene Avenue, and the community hut, which has existed since before World War II, from being sold on by West Sussex County Council for a housing development.

SOSS was launched in July last year and received 340 letters of support and 380 signatures.

Lionel Parsons, chairman of The Avenue Residents’ Association (TARA) and also of the Save Our School Site (SOSS) Campaign, spoke of his disappointment after the Planning Inspectorate ruled in favour of West Sussex Council to sell the site earlier this month.

He said: “We are disappointed. We wanted the hut to be the community base for TARA. Lancing has very little in respect of community bases.

“It has church halls and the Woodard Academy is meant to be used as a community venue.

“But we’ve lost the women’s institute hall and the RNLI club in Tower Road, so gradually we’re losing the community places we’ve always enjoyed.”

Lionel said another aim of SOSS was to keep the school site available in case schools such as the Globe Primary School, also in Irene Avenue, needed to develop further to accommodate for the growing numbers of pupils in classrooms.

He said SOSS was now considering whether to appeal against the decision under the Localism Bill. He said: “It seems little regard has been shown for the future needs of Lancing.

“It grieves me to know that planning of our village is determined by outsiders with no love for the village and its future. We see it so often where planning regulations take precedence over local feelings and aspirations.”

For the time being, TARA is now meeting in the Crabtree pub, in Crabtree Lane.

On June 4 the association will hold a jubilee celebration with a picnic in the park on the field of Globe Primary School. On the day, dancers, bands, and a fancy dress competition for the children, will be among the highlights.

The picnic takes place from 12.30pm and residents within the TARA area are invited to turn up on the day.

Lionel added: “We’re very grateful to the Globe Primary School and the Crabtree pub for the help they’ve given us.”

Anyone who would like to join TARA can either phone 01903 527534 or 01903 530661 for more information, with membership costing £2 per household.