The final bell tolls for long-standing high school

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Grove School which merged with Filsham Academy to form the new St Leonards Academy is being demolished.

The buildings on the site of the Grove School in Darwell Road started to be knocked down last week and the demolition is still continuing

The 1950s built Grove merged with Filsham Valley to become the St Leonards Academy with the school closing to pupils in July 2013.

East Sussex County Council recommended in 2012 that the buildings were surplus to the council’s requirements. The council needs to make an early sale because it estimated that the annual cost of maintaining the 9.25 hectare site is £170,000.

An extract from the Council’s recommendation report says: “It is hoped that the Bexhill to Hastings link road will stimulate economic growth in the local area and therefore it is hoped market value.”

Tim Fletcher, 
spokesman for East Sussex County Council, said: “We have applied to dispose of the former school playing fields and are awaiting a decision from the secretary of state. If permission is given, we’ll 
consult with the public on options for the site.”

Former pupil, Sarah Owen, prospective Labour candidate for Hastings & Rye at the next General Election said: “It makes me really sad, it’s an end of an era.

“I’ve got many happy memories and a few that I maybe shouldn’t share.”

“However, much as thousands of ex-pupils will miss it, we really needed modern facilities for teaching the next generation of pupils.”

The process of bulldozing the site has been extensive and involved using a wide range of vehicles and equipment.

Hastings Borough Council has said it wants housing and community use on the site.

If the disposal of the school playing fields element of the site is approved by the government there may be restrictions on how the sale proceeds are used. The two schools had space for almost 2,000 pupils in 2008 but were projected to experience dwindling admission numbers.

They failed to meet the minimum standards by the Labour government in 2008 and a decision was made to form the new St Leonards Academy. The new St Leonards Academy is sponsored by the University of Brighton, British Telecom and East Sussex County Council.