Durand school protesters say ‘there is no such thing as temporary’

Residents raising funds for the fight against St Cuthman's in 2014 PICTURE BY DAVID HILL
Residents raising funds for the fight against St Cuthman's in 2014 PICTURE BY DAVID HILL

Protesters are going back into action to fight the latest plans from the Durand Academy to extend the school on the former St Cuthman’s site at Stedham.

They have formed the St Cuthman’s Campaign Group to lead objections and a crowded public meeting was held in Stedham Memorial Hall attended by concerned villagers from Stedham, Woolbeding, Redorrd and Milland.

An overwhelming majority expressed their intention to write objecting to the plan when chairman of Stedham Parish Council Eddie Lintott who chaired the meeting asked for a show of hands.

The Durand Academy has submitted plans for temporary teaching and boarding accommodation at the school.

After a four year battle Durand opened a school, in autumn 2014, on the Stedham site for 48 year 9 weekly boarders travelling down from London.

There are currently around 90 pupils and the latest plan would bring in an additional 48 and two staff in pre-fabricated buildings.

Durand wants to demolish the listed Coach House and replace it with a single storey building to provide five classrooms. And it wants to build another prefabricated temporary two storey accommodation block on its tennis courts.

But objectors say ‘temporary’ is meaningless in planning terms.

Kate Hearle told the meeting: “An awful lot of people in this room went to school in temporary buildings which stayed up for 30 to 40 years. I think we need to know the exact intention of the school.”

She said the new pr-fab buildings were not appropriate in the national park, would be highly visible and would take out the tennis courts which were heavily used.

Mrs Hearle said light spill was also a concern in the national park which had recently gained Dark Sky status.

Don’t miss out on all the latest breaking news where you live.

Here are four ways you can be sure you’ll be amongst the first to know what’s going on.

1) Make our website your homepage at www.midhurstandpetworth.co.uk/

2) Like our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/MidhurstandPetworthObserver

3) Follow us on Twitter @mid_pet_obs

4) Register with us by clicking on ‘sign in’ (top right corner). You can then receive our daily newsletter AND add your point of view to stories that you read here.

And do share with your family and friends - so they don’t miss out!

The Midhurst and Petworth Observer - always the first with your local news.

Be part of it.