Durand Academy appeal against national park

Durand plans for Stedham site
Durand plans for Stedham site

THE Durand Academy has launched an appeal at the 11th hour against the decision of the South Downs National Park Authority (SDNPA).

The school academy in south London has lodged an appeal to contest the decision about its state boarding school application on the former St Cuthman’s site in Stedham.

This comes six months after the SDNPA planning committee refused permission for the controversial scheme.

Tim Slaney, director of planning for the SDNPA, said: “Durand have advised us that they have submitted an appeal to the planning inspectorate requesting a public inquiry.

“We have full confidence in our decision which was reached after a full debate taking into account all relevant information. We will of course defend our decision robustly.”

Durand executive head Sir Greg Martin said: “We are appealing against the refusal of our application to create unique educational opportunities for children from the inner-city.

“The planning authority recognise there is a need for this school.

“There are exceptional circumstances to justify the development, in terms of the identified education need; the new model for state boarding it pioneers and most importantly, the life-changing opportunities it will open up for pupils.

“We are confident that our boarding school will be a great source of pride at the heart of its community.”

Chairman of Woolbeding with Redford Parish Council, Anne Reynolds, is against the plans.

She said: “The appeal does not detract from the lack of merit in the original application.

“We still feel there is no need for this school, particularly in a national park, and will resist the appeal.

“The government has always said funding was dependent on a successful planning application.

“Durand’s application was turned down last December and so we have asked the DfE for confirmation that the taxpayer will not be funding this appeal.”