Battle lines drawn up for Durand appeal

Durand Academy Executive Head Sir Greg Martin speaking to students SUS-141111-155708001
Durand Academy Executive Head Sir Greg Martin speaking to students SUS-141111-155708001

AN OPEN evening is due to be held in Milland this evening (December 4) to outline the fight against plans to build a state boarding academy for inner-city children on the site of the former St Cuthman’s School.

The Durand Academy’s plans to bus 375 children from Lambeth to the new weekly boarding school on the edge of Stedham, were thrown out by the South Downs National Park Authority last December.

Although members said it was a ‘finely balanced’ decision they felt it had not been proved that there was no scope to meet the need outside the national park or that the harm to landscape character from the school itself and its construction, could be moderated.

Durand is now appealing to a government planning inspector at an inquiry to set to convene in February.

This evening Milland Parish Council is holding an open meeting at 7.30pm in the Memorial Hall for a presentation by Woolbeding and Redford Parish Council about the appeal process.

Clerk to Milland Parish Council Lorraine Grocott said: “The meeting is to remind residents on the traffic implications for the Milland Valley including 53 seater Coaches with 32 Coach movements each week.

The second route favoured by Highways Agency goes through Milland, there will be 88 weeks of HGV construction – that’s 17,750 traffic movements.”

In addition Mrs Grocott said the meeting would outline the many delivery vehicles to the school where the existing site would increase six fold in size.

Milland, Stedham with Iping and Woolbeding with Redford Parish Councils have been granted ‘rule 6’ status by the planning inspectorate at the appeal.

It means the parish councils will be treated as a main party at the inquiry and allowed to appear and cross examine.

The cost is £80,000 and the parish councils are currently raising funds.

In the meantime Durand has opened the doors of the listed Wispers building to 48 year 9 pupils who are travelling from London and boarding three nights a week.

Durand was given permission to restore the building in 2010.