The East Twickenham School Group unites parents and residents of East Twickenham in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames. We are concerned about the severe shortage of school places for children in our neighbourhood and are working to put this right. In March 2015 we presented a 725 signature petition to the Council asking for a school in the area:
East Twickenham is a "black hole" for primary school places: there is no local school and the schools in the adjacent villages become filled with the children who live close to them. The Council accepts there's an acute shortage of school places in the area. But there are suitable sites for a school - not only the long-unused Ryde House office site on Richmond Road, but also a pair of adjacent properties in Rosslyn Road which are already owned by the Council - subject to finding alternative accommodation for their existing uses.
In June 2014 Bellevue Place Education Trust won approval from the Department for Education to open a new “free school” in East Twickenham/St.Margarets. We expected it to be on the Ryde House site, but we found in January it's going to be at 243-253 Lower Mortlake Road, TW9 2LL instead, nowhere near East Twickenham.
The reason is that the Ryde House was bought by Lidl for a supermarket. They held a public consultation event last November where they proposed a supermarket along with some flats. We expect them to come up with their final proposals and apply for planning permission any time now. Meanwhile, despite our best efforts, no-one seems to be taking the Rosslyn Road option seriously.
Go to our Questions & Answers section if you're wondering: Whether we really need a primary school in East Twickenham? Why can't the Council just set up a school? Who's involved with Ryde House and the potential school on the site? What happened to the school Bellevue Education Trust had approved for East Twickenham/St.Margaret's for 2015? How can Free Schools open so soon after they've been approved in cases where a significant building project is required?
The Ryde House site: