Villagers living close to the planned new £17m boarding school for inner city disadvantaged children on the former St Cuthman’s site have accused project leaders of failing to listen to them.
The Durand Academy unveiled plans for the unique boarding school on the borders of Stedham, Redford and Woolbeding at a public exhibition in Stedham at the end of June.
Main concerns centred on weekly transporting some 600 children to and from the site along country lanes, and the scale of the buildings which reached four storeys in some parts.
On Thursday (July 26) Durand and their chosen developers Balfour Beatty held a second exhibition to display modified plans, including a new route and removal of four-storey levels.
But villagers claim Durand staff are putting a positive spin on the feedback which does not reflect the deep-seated concerns of many objectors.
Chairman of Woolbeding with Redford Parish Council Anne Reynolds said: “They take what they want to hear from each meeting and put a positive spin on it.
“For example they claim 50 per cent of respondents to their questionnaires are in favour of the school, when in fact they have said they are not opposed to a school of this type but it is in the wrong location.”
Spokesman for the Durand Academy Rebecca Newsom said she was disappointed villagers felt there was a spin being put on feedback.
“A lot of people have made comments and we have been doing proper analysis of them,” she said.
“The comments we have received are directly informing the plans.”
She said Durand had decided to push back the planning application submission date, adding: “A large part of the reason we have decided to delay the plans is precisely in order to make sure they are more in line with what people are saying to us.”
For the full story see this week’s Midhurst and Petworth Observer (Thursday, August 2, edition).
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