Campaigners concern over asbestos at Durand’s Stedham school


Campaigners are concerned that asbestos is still lying in rubble after former classrooms on the St Cuthman’s site were knocked down four years ago.

And they are frustrated that the former classrooms, which still have not been cleared away, are now needed and would have been a better site.

Leading campaigner Stephen McGairl claimed the demolition and other issues highlighted Durand as ‘a bad manager of the site’.

They included: “external lighting, asbestos lying around for five years, building demolished in 2011 which they now need.”

“The asbestos is frankly a scandal. They have children on the site,” he told a public meeting in Stedham.

Kate Hearle said : “It is unacceptable to leave the site in that state for this length of time. “There is a lot of asbestos waste in there.”

The situation was, she said being investigated by the health and safety executive.

“If I was a parent and I found out a whole bunch of people knew there had been asbestos there for several years, I would be really, really upset.”

The meeting was told the asbestos was ‘relatively safe’ at present, but it could become dangerous when it was moved.

The Durand Academy has moved to give an assurance to neighbours of the former St Cuthman’s School at Stedham and parents of the children there.

A spokesman for the academy told the Observer: “Asbestos can be found in any building built before the year 2000, and the Department for Education estimates that the majority of schools in England contain some asbestos.

“If it is undamaged and managed safely, the presence of asbestos in school buildings does not pose a significant risk.

She continued: “The asbestos at St Cuthman’s is located in derelict buildings which are fenced off.

“Neither children nor staff use these buildings.

“At Durand, the wellbeing and welfare of our pupils is our highest priority and we have carried out additional checks, over and above our statutory duty to assess any potential risk.

“We can assure parents and the community that there is no evidence of asbestos being a threat to either pupils or staff.”

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