Ideas sought over occupied Lewes school

Marina Pepper The protesters say they have the support of the local community

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Community leaders are being asked by the council to come up with plans for the future use of St Anne's school in Lewes which is occupied by protesters.

A group called St Anne's Diggers (Stand) wants to prevent the disused site being sold for housing and has occupied the land since 1 May.

East Sussex County Council said it would discuss "interim community use" of the land once the protest ended.

Stand said it was "a bit too late" and it was arranging its own consultation.

The county council has sent a letter to residents and community leaders asking them for suggestions ahead of a proposed meeting.

Sean Nolan, the director of corporate resources at the Conservative-run council, said: "As you may be aware, I have given my personal assurance that the county council will discuss with the local community on interim community use of the former St Anne's school site within seven days of the illegal occupation ending.

"In advance of the first meeting, which we all hope can be soon, I would be very happy to receive your own suggestions on possible options for interim community uses for the site."

Start Quote

We have community support - we are the part of the community”

End Quote Stand spokeswoman

He added: " I can only hope the occupiers leave peacefully and soon so we can begin the discussion.

"I am very conscious of the disruption and inconvenience to the immediate residents by the continued illegal occupation.

"If we are forced to evict it will be an unnecessary cost for all of us as taxpayers."

A spokeswoman for Stand said: "It's good to see the council making progress and consulting the people is always a good thing.

"But it is too little a bit too late. Community groups are already arranging their own consultation.

"We will deliver our finding to the council. We don't need the council to run their consultation."

She added: "We have an interim use already which is happening now. We have community support - we are the part of the community."

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