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Threatened Hove church could become school
A disused Grade II listed church is being looked at as a site for a new school.
Brighton and Hove City Council has confirmed it has expressed an interest in buying Holy Trinity Church in Blatchington Road, Hove, to meet a shortfall of primary school places.
Vanessa Brown, the council’s cabinet member for education, told The Argus officials have been looking for options in the area but there were few large enough sites available.
She said Holy Trinity and the Connaught Centre in Connaught Road were possibilities.
“We have made an enquiry about the church but it is at a very early stage. We did enquire about the Connaught Centre but City College, who own it, said they want to continue to use it for five years.”
The news is being welcomed by campaigners fighting the possibility of the church being sold by owners the Anglican Diocese of Chichester to a housing association to be developed into 44 flats.
Ex-Coronation Street actor Brian Capron, who lives in Denmark Villas opposite, said: “What we ideally want is for the site to remain a quiet and beautiful part of this neighbourhood.
Obviously a school would not exactly be quiet but if push came to shove I’d rather have it than an ugly block of flats.”
He said he hoped if a school was built it would be architecturally designed to fit with the area. But Councillor Brown said it had not even been considered yet if the church would have to be demolished as part of the school plan.
The council has been promised more than £8.5 million by the Government to revamp and reorganise its primary schools to meet future population demands.
Councillor Melanie Davis, who represents the Goldsmid ward of Hove, said the school plan would be welcomed by parents in the area and in Seven Dials whose children have struggled to gain school places. She said: “There is a terrible shortage of places and schools, so I’m pleased to hear they are exploring all options.”
City College is considering the Connaught Centre’s future.
It is planning a £100 million revamp on four campuses across the city and indicated it might sell or redevelop the site.
But conservationists and the adult education centre in the Victorian buildings have fought against those plans.
College principal Phil Frier said the reaction prompted it to reconsider but no firm plans had been decided.
Is the disused church the right site for a new school? Comment below.