We have been asked to post this on behalf of Schools for East Twickenham

East Twickenham suffers from a severe shortage of primary school places, and every year there are many families who cannot find a school for their children. There are no schools at present in East Twickenham, and the schools in the adjacent villages become filled with the children who live close to them.

In June 2014 the Bellevue Place Education Trust won approval from the Department for Education to open a new “free school” in the East Twickenham / St.Margarets area. The Trust believed they had found a suitable site at Ryde House on Richmond Road, East Twickenham.

This was then bought by the supermarket chain Lidl. No other possible site for a school has been identified in East Twickenham, the neighbourhood which is most affected by the shortage of places.

And the Bellevue Trust has now changed its plans: its new school will now be in Richmond near Old Deer Park (opening September 2015). This may provide for this year’s East Twickenham children, but seems unlikely to meet demand in future years.

Richmond Council has been proposing that the Ryde House site should be designated for educational use on their formal Site Allocations Plan. A pre-publication consultation has been completed, and final evidence is being gathered. The findings are to be published in the summer of 2015, with a view to adoption of recommendations in spring 2016.

Meanwhile Lidl are working on their planning application for use of the site as a new Lidl food store, and if approved this would prevent the site being used for a school. Lidl have already held a Public Consultation Meeting, and are expected to submit their application shortly.

Richmond Council’s “educational use” may be completed in time to help next year’s generation of children, and there may be yet other ways in which a school could be achieved for the site.

We want to demonstrate very clearly to the Council the strength of local feeling about the urgent need for a new primary school in East Twickenham.