North Devons first free school has won a two-and-a-half year battle to build a permanent site at Steart Farm. The Secretary of State has overruled the planning inspectors decision to reject the appeal by Route 39 Academy, granting permission for the build at the Bucks Cross site. This morning Route 39 announced the decision on its Facebook page. Principal Jordan Kelly said: It is with great joy that I welcome the Secretary of States decision to grant permission for the permanent site of Route 39 Academy to be constructed at Steart Farm. It will be a huge relief to our committed staff and families that the academy is to have a long-awaited home. At Route 39 Academy we have created a caring environment where students can be challenged and supported to exceed their educational goals. At the heart of our vision is a school that uses the best innovative practices to make learning interesting and relevant to students, and that reflects this areas unique rural and coastal environment. Mr Kelly said he wanted to sincerely think everyone who has contributed to creating Route 39 Academys strong and inspiring learning community. He added: With a permanent home we can now build upon this legacy. Richard Bence, chair of governors, added: Both the Secretary of State and the Planning Inspector agree with us that Route 39 Academy is a thriving school which provides choice and an inspiring educational experience. The Secretary of State also agrees with the inspector that importance of Steart Farm as an inspirational setting must not be underplayed, and that the proposed location is likely to encourage children to attend school, enjoy their experience there and relate their studies to future careers in, among other matters, conservation and science. The Secretary of State also notes that there are a significant number of economic and social benefits associated with the development and estimates that it would lead to over 70 jobs, construction employment, and nearly £1.7 million brought into the economy. We would like to sincerely thank the community of Clovelly - especially the Parish Hall Committee and Clovelly Estate - who have continued to provide the academy with a temporary home. We look forward to working productively with local residents to ensure that the new building is accessible and has varied community-focused uses. Route 39 Academy lodged an appeal with the planning inspectorate after Torridge District Council turned down plans for a permanent site in November 2014. The school had proposals to build the school at Steart Farm, within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, accommodating up to 700 pupils. The No To Route 39 Academy group, which has campainged against the build in the Area Of Outstanding Natural Beauty, said it was seeking legal advice.