17 January 2020 Children and learning

Have your say on proposals for former Portslade sixth form site

We're consulting on a proposal to change the use of the former Portslade Community College sixth form site on Mile Oak Road.

This includes the former sixth form building, the outside space surrounding it, and the playing field to the north of the main site.

The proposal is to convert the school site to use as offices for children’s social care services.

Many people will also know the site as the former base of the King’s School.

King’s School has now moved to its new base next to West Blatchington Primary School in Hove. This means the old sixth form building is no longer being used.

Consultation

Because of a predicted steep fall in pupil numbers in the coming years, the council believes the site is no longer viable for educational use.

We are consulting schools in the area and other education organisations to confirm that they have no interest in taking over the site. 

The council is committed to making sure the playing field continues to be used as a playing field – just not a school playing field.

The consultation is open until Tuesday 25 February. 

Public meeting

We're holding a public meeting about the proposals on Thursday 23 January 2020 from 6pm to 8pm at Portslade Town Hall. 

This will be a drop-in session, so you can attend any time during this period.

The proposal is subject to the council gaining both government approval and planning permission.

The site would need some re-configuring and updating to provide a modern, flexible office space as well as meeting spaces for case conferences and other similar activities.

Empty buildings are expensive to maintain. They are attractive to vandals and could become a magnet for anti-social behaviour.

Government rules say councils have to conduct public consultation whenever they want to change the use of educational sites.

Further information

The local secondary school planning area in which this site sits has a total of 240 places per year available. The maximum number of pupils we anticipate will be looking for a school place in the future in this area will be 200.

This means we can expect a minimum of 16% surplus places in this planning area.

There is a similar situation in the local primary planning area. This has 330 places, with a maximum of 250 pupils looking for a school place – giving a minimum of 24% surplus places in the primary planning area. 

Even taking into account that the adjacent primary and secondary planning areas may require some overspill in the next few years, there will always be surplus capacity in this part of the city.

We are aware that the site was not considered suitable for the Kings School. The proximity of the Portslade Aldridge Community Academy (PACA) – just 1km as the crow flies, and 1.4km by road – is a key factor in this.  

All the views put forward during the consultation stage will be considered prior to making a final decision on whether to submit an application under the legislation that protects school playing field land.  

We would stress that no decisions have yet been made and that none will be made until consultations have been completed and we have carefully considered all the views expressed.