12 June 2014

Community to help shape future of Rottingdean's former school site

The future of the former St Aubyns school site in Rottingdean will be influenced by the local community through consultation on a planning brief.

Rottingdean Parish Council, the Cothill Educational Trust, which owns the site, and local residents are using the brief to shape future development on the site.

St Aubyns school, just off Rottingdean High Street, is a Grade II listed building. Other listed features on the land include a boundary flint wall, sports pavilion and a war memorial.

Attached to the school building is a rare listed chapel, built in 1913. Children who attended the school are depicted in its stained glass windows and inside there is a First World War soldiers' memorial. Rudyard Kipling's son John, a former pupil of St Aubyns School, was killed in the war and is commemorated in the chapel.

After St Aubyns closed in April 2013 Rottingdean Parish Council and residents approached the council concerned about what will happen to the site. Since then the council has worked with the Parish Council and the landowner to draw up a planning brief.

Next week, (19 June), members of the economic development and culture committee will be asked to approve the draft planning brief for further consultation.

Councillor Geoffrey Bowden, chair of the committee, said: “The document sets out development principles for this important site that will respect the character of existing buildings and the conservation area while meeting the needs of the community.

“We have worked with the parish council, the landowner, local councillors and residents to create a brief that reflects their aspirations. The brief aims to be a realistic guide for developers to come forward with proposals that would also breathe new life into the site's historic assets.”

The brief says that any redevelopment proposals should retain and re-use the existing listed main building and chapel; that there should be public access to the playing field and that community benefits should be part of any plans.

It also outlines a number of possible uses for the site, such as residential institutions, another school or housing. Other acceptable 'in principle' uses could be a hotel, health centre or spa. The brief recommends that building height should not be above three storeys.

Rottingdean Parish Council is the first community organisation to prepare a Neighbourhood Plan and the planning brief for the site will be used alongside the plan as guidance for future planning applications in Rottingdean.

If the draft planning brief is approved by the committee, consultation will start in September and run for six weeks.

Further information

Read the reports for the Economic Development and Culture Committee here: (the St Aubyn’s planning brief is agenda item no. 12) http://present.brighton-hove.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=705&MId=5164