Villagers voice fears over plans for state boarding academy at former St Cuthman’s School

An inner-city school’s plan to open a unique boarding academy for disadvantaged children near Midhurst could destroy village life, it has been claimed.

Villagers from Stedham, Woolbeding and Redford gathered in Redford Village Hall to quiz officials from the Durand Academy in Stockwell, South London who plan to develop the former St Cuthman’s School and bring some 600 children there, as weekly boarders, in a fleet of coaches.

Former parish councillor Karen Lovett echoed the sentiments of many villagers when she said Redford and Woolbeding seemed to be ‘fighting a losing battle’ to try to protect their rural lanes from increasing heavy traffic.

“Many people are worried about the growth of traffic through here which could destroy our way of life,” she told the meeting.

But vice-chairman of governors Kevin Craig said: “Not for one second would we want to destroy or harm one of the most amazing places in the country.

“This site was chosen because it was a school before. We know we can do this and in a way which will have no impact on the lives of the people who live here.”

For full story see Midhurst and Petworth Observer,Thursday, March 29