Deer Park School, the two-form entry primary school which opened in September 2015 on a temporary site at Richmond Adult Community College, will have a permanent site as part of a re-development of the Ryde House site in East Twickenham.
The news comes as a result of lengthy negotiations between the Education Funding Agency (EFA) and Ryde House’s owners, Lidl, and a series of direct interventions by Richmond Council at Lidl’s most senior level.
Deer Park was originally proposed by the school’s sponsors, Bellevue and Place Education Trust (BPET), as ‘Richmond Bridge Primary’, to serve, primarily, East Twickenham and St Margarets. The EFA’s purchase of space at the Ryde House site for the school will, subject to planning permission, enable it to revert to its original proposal.
Lidl are expected to submit a planning application later this year for a mixed retail and school development. Lidl withdrew their previous retail and housing application for the site in 2014 after the Leader of the Council, Lord True, directly asked Lidl to think again.
Cllr Paul Hodgins, Cabinet Member for Education, said:
“Finding a site for a new school in East Twickenham and St Margarets has been our single biggest challenge in implementing our school place planning strategy. As for most new schools now across London, this site has its challenges. We always agreed that London House wasn’t an ideal location. I am sure that residents around that site will be pleased.
“I am fully confident that Deer Park Primary will be an excellent school on this site. It has been an extremely painful and drawn out process, and it has been frustrating that we have not been able to say more throughout. But we have persisted, and I am delighted that, subject to an agreed lease and planning permission, we finally have agreement for a new school in East Twickenham and St. Margaret’s. I would like to thank Lidl for their willingness to come to an arrangement which is the best possible outcome for the local community.”
The Chair of the Bellevue Place Education Trust – the charity that maintains Deer Park School – Claire Delaney, added:
“We are delighted to announce to parents and the local community that we can follow through on our original promise to offer new high-quality primary school places where they are most needed – in the East Twickenham and St. Margaret’s area of Richmond. We do hope that parents who were anticipating the school to be at London House will continue to consider Deer Park School as their school of choice.”
Deer Park School has offered to meet with prospective parents on Tuesday 1 March at 5pm at Deer Park School, to hear more information about the planned move and also understand how to amend their preferences after being offered a place on National Offer Day on 18 April 2016.
Prospective parent who did not state Deer Park among their initial preferences and who now wish to make a preference for it, are advised to contact the School Admissions team as soon as possible and by no later than 3 May 2016. Similarly, parents who made a preference for the school but who, because of the school’s site move, no longer wish to hold that preference should contact the School Admissions Team within those timescales too.
— from a Richmond Council press release – 22 February 2016