St Anne's Community Use


Community groups can now apply to use of the grounds of the old

St Anne’s School in Rotten Row, Lewes after East Sussex County Council leased the site to 3VA.



St Anne's was a special school between 1960 and 2005, when it was closed and the pupils moved to neighbouring schools. Since then it has been used for storage and after an occupation by protestors, its owners, East Sussex County Council are offering the site for community use for at least the next three years. For more information on the site's history, please view the presentation given by Christopher Whittick, Senior Archivist with East Sussex County

Council, given at a public meeting, Lewes Town Hall, 7 July 2011. 


Community Use in Action

Area 1

A Steering Group made up of local community representatives 

was set up to oversee use of the grounds for events and

community activities. So whether it’s an open air exercise

session, a landscape painting class, an outdoor play or 

nature trail – this site could provide the perfect space.

Groups will need to complete a simple application form which

describes their activity and how the community will benefit to assist

the Steering Group in choosing which activities will  take prioritity.                                                                                                                                              


Practical Information

The site can be used all year round between 10am and 6pm

and during the summer months (May-August) between 10am

and 10pm on Fridays and Saturdays only. The site area is

over four acres but excludes the old School buildings which

are not part of the lease to 3VA.


There are a number of constraints that you’ll need to be aware of when applying to use the site, most important of which is a lack amenities as this is an open green space.


There are four main areas to the grounds (numbered areas relate to photos going down the page):

  1. A hard surface area (including the base of a bandstand) 
  2. Large playing field
  3. A hard surface area surrounded by trees
  4. Smaller green area with a steep bank to one side

However, this is a large site and there are a number of smaller areas that could lend themselves to all sorts of uses so feel free to put forward any ideas you have for any area of the site. 


St Anne's School Buildings

Surveys have been carried out on the buildings but sadly these are not safe to use - through general deterioration, vandalism over the years as well the presence of extensive asbestos. They need considerable work to bring them up to a useable state and therefore East Sussex County Council have fenced off the buildings and these are not part of the lease to 3VA.


However, East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service recently came 
forward to enquire about utilising the buildings for training 
firefighers as they lack complex buildings such as these to
practice within. With the support of the Steering Group, the 
County Council have granted them limited access to support
this training - however this will not have an impact on the
community use of the surrounding grounds.


The grounds total more than four acres - please click here for a map of the site.


Got an idea? We'd love to hear from you.

For more information, please contact us through or Katherine Perrin on 01323 639 373.     You can also follow St Anne's news on Facebook via: St Anne’s Old School Site.                           


Community Use of St Anne's Safeguarded


The old St Anne's School site is up for sale to those who can utilise the site for community use.

The St Anne's site on Rotten Row, Lewes, has been managed by the St Anne's Steering Group with support from 3VA since August 2012, allowing local voluntary and community groups to utilize this unique resource. A number of organisations have taken up this opportunity to enjoy the site alongside local residents and dog walkers. This unique arrangement, which follows the lease of the site to 3VA in order to administer community use, was part of East Sussex County Council's public commitment to enable community use of the site for a minimum of three years.


East Sussex County Council has recently taken the decision to put the site forward for sale, but is restricting its sale to the voluntary and community groups who would like to create an asset for the community. This is a fantastic acknowledgment of the hard work put in by the Steering Group, made up of local organisations and residents (many of whom on a voluntary rather than professional basis) and the significant progress that has made in enabling community use of the grounds. This decision not only protects the current arrangement of community groups being able to hire the grounds but safeguards the site as a whole for community use.


The site is being offered for sale as freehold with vacant possession of the buildings and expressions of interest are only being considered by constituted voluntary and community groups or not for profit organisations. The unique site houses a number of disused buildings, a playing field and hard surface areas across 4.4 acres, lending itself to any number of uses. The buildings themselves need significant work and therefore offers made to East Sussex County Council should include the proposed use and related business case, potential to obtain planning consent as well as how the current arrangements around community use of the grounds will be maintained.   This fantastic site needs new owners with a clear vision as well as the capacity and finances to support this. If any group would like help with fundraising, governance, or help to collaborate with another organisation in order to submit an expression of interest on the site, as ever, 3VA can provide a range of free support.