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“The Victorian Society’s involvement was crucial”

Local campaigners in East Sussex give their verdict after a listed Victorian school building in Rye is saved from demolition.

At the end of last year the owner of Rye's Lion Street Education Centre applied to knock down the site's 19th century art block as part of a proposal to build 3 new houses and 2 new flats.

The Adult Education Centre and Library is an interesting early example of a provincial board school, built soon after the Education Act of 1870, and the art block is an integral part of this, with its steeply pitched roof and large windows. The school was built in 1874 but it's not clear when the art block was added, though it does feature on an 1897 map in Rye library.

The Victorian Society wrote to Rother District Council to urge it to refuse permission; an intervention which was welcomed by campaigners in Rye:

'The Victorian Society's fast considered and telling objection, backed by a national press release that was picked up by the BBC as well as local papers, made the local authority (which had originally granted permission for the destruction of the building in 2004) sit up and take notice.'

In January planning permission and listed building consent were refused by Rother District Council's planning committee.

Campaigners say the building is now in the process of being bought by a local community interest company, which plans to retain and restore it as part of a cinema and theatre complex.

Wednesday 13 April, 2011

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