Planning permission has now been granted for an East Twickenham home for Deer Park School, as part of a new mixed development which also includes a Lidl supermarket.

At last night’s Planning Committee (8 February 2017), Members approved an application for a new Lidl food store at 391 Richmond Road, with the two form entry primary school above it.

Deer Park School opened in September 2015 on a temporary site at Richmond Adult Community College and is a Free School sponsored by Bellevue Place Education Trust. From 2018/19 academic year, the school will occupy the first and second floor of the new development, and at capacity (in 2024/25 academic year) there will be room for 420 pupils.

The new facilities will include a large dining hall, dedicated Library and a specialist classroom for Design and Technology. In addition to the on-site playground, the school will make a number of arrangements for offsite sporting activities. The Multi Use Games Area provided at first floor, will support the provision of games such as football, netball, basketball and hockey on site. This will be secured for safety and to prevent balls going into neighbouring gardens.

There will also be outdoor learning spaces provided at the second floor and the reception classes will have a covered canopy.

This school comes as a result of lengthy negotiations between the Education Funding Agency (EFA) and Ryde House’s owners, Lidl, and a number of direct interventions by Richmond Council at Lidl’s most senior level.

Cllr Paul Hodgins, Richmond Council Cabinet Member for Schools, said:

“This is great news! Finding a site for a new school in East Twickenham has been our single biggest challenge in implementing our school place planning strategy. Richmond upon Thames has the highest achieving primary schools in the country and they continue to be in great demand. After a difficult search a site has now been secured that will enable the school to grow within the community – East Twickenham and St Margarets – which it was originally proposed to serve.

“I am fully confident that Deer Park will flourish on this site. I would like to thank Lidl for their willingness to come to an arrangement which is the best possible outcome for the local community.

“This exciting mixed development is a national first for Lidl and a first for the borough, and I’m sure that this innovative solution will be replicated elsewhere in coming years, as sites for new schools become ever scarcer.

“I would also like to thank Richmond Adult Community College for hosting the school on its temporary site.”

Claire Delaney, Chair of Trustees at Bellevue Place Education Trust, said:

“I am absolutely delighted that planning permission has been granted for Deer Park school’s permanent home and would like to thank our incredible parents and school team for their patience and support in helping us reach this milestone. I would also like to thank members of Richmond’s planning committee for approving the application.

“We can’t wait to move in to such an exciting building; what will be the first primary school and supermarket joint development in the country and continue to provide our pupils with an outstanding education.”

— from a Richmond Council press release – 9 February 2017