A proposed £22m boarding school for pupils from inner-city London has been rejected.

The South Downs National Park Authority rejected plans for the proposed 375-pupil Durand Academy in Stedham because it was too big and its impact on the landscape would be "inappropriate".

The 20-acre site was previously used by the 100-pupil St Cuthman's School but the building is now empty after the school closed in 2004.

The Durand Academy said the decision was “deeply disappointing and misplaced”.

The academy, which runs a primary school in South London, wanted to offer secondary places next year in the first scheme of its kind in England.

It was planned that students would travel from London to Stedham by bus on Monday mornings and return to the capital on Friday afternoons.

The Department for Education had already pledged £17.34m for the school with the Durand Education Trust, which owns the site, providing a further £5m.

The announcement of the plans earlier this year sparked a racism row after local councillor John Cherry made controversial comments about Pakistani children and was later forced to resign from his local Conservative party.

The committee said the scale of the development was out-of keeping with what the site had previously been used for although the trust said they had made concessions to lower the height of buildings and reduce student numbers from 600 to 375.