Villagers step up fight against Durand Academy plans

Residents raising funds for the fight against St Cuthman's PICTURE BY DAVID HILL SUS-140809-184251001

Residents raising funds for the fight against St Cuthman's PICTURE BY DAVID HILL SUS-140809-184251001

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RESIDENTS held a fundraising party on the village green in Stedham in aid of an appeal to fight the Durand Academy development.

The first cohort of Durand pupils are expected this month when St Cuthman’s opens as the UK’s first fully-funded state boarding school.

Campaigner Juliet Page said: “The South Downs National Park refused Durand further planning permission, but they are going for a judicial enquiry, and we need to raise £80,000 in legal fees to fight such a huge and powerful company. More than £1,100 was raised by Stedham and Iping and Redford villagers. Ballards kindly donated beer, and wine was supplied by Budgens. A bench worth £300 was donated by Lizzie Robinson of Teak Unique, and won by Vanessa Blaber.”

Resident Dr Adrian Hearle said the event saw an ‘excellent turnout’, adding: “We have raised our concern that Durand lacks secondary boarding school expertise. With the first day of term last week, we were surprised that no pupils arrived.”

A Durand spokesman told the Observer: “We are currently finalising the date at which the 48 students will be going to the St Cuthman’s site.

“It wasn’t planned to open yet.

“It has long been Durand’s intention for children to spend the first few weeks at the Stockwell site, before moving to St Cuthman’s later in the month.”