Hundreds of people have signed a petition calling on Richmond Council to stop Turing House free school being based in Whitton.

The Department for Education secured a lease for Livingston House, Teddington, as a temporary home but its long-term future lies elsewhere.

It is believed the two sites under consideration are horse grazing land behind in Hospital Bridge Road and Udney Park playing fields in Teddington.

But with the school being created to deal with the oversubscription of schools places in Twickenham and Teddington, campaigners feared 80 per cent of places would be taken by children from outside Whitton.

John Turner, who started the campaign which has now reached more than 860 signatures, branded the proposal "narrow-minded".

He said: "I think the majority of people don’t know about the plans and it has all been kept in the dark since day one.

"Richmond Council is looking for access via Springfield Road, as far as I know, so it might be thinking about demolishing the scout group’s headquarters.

"There are already five schools within a quarter of a mile of the site.

"Turing House also says if the site is big enough they will consider putting a primary school there too.

"I am getting a lot of feedback from people in Teddington who don’t want to have to get their kids over to Whitton in the morning.

"My house overlooks the site in Whitton and traffic in the area in the morning is already horrendous, add in 1,100 school kids into the mix and it will become a car park. It is all very narrow-minded."

The site, thought to be favoured by the council, is a large field between Heathfield recreation ground and Sempervirens nursery, near Twickenham Academy.

Turing House is also part of a group of schools and sports clubs that have made a formal declaration of interest in acquiring the Imperial College playing fields, after the university put the site up for sale last year.

Twickenham MP Vince Cable described the Whitton site as "nonsense" and urged the council and the Education Funding Agency (EFA) to pursue the Teddington option.

He said: "Clearly a permanent secondary school site in Whitton which has an admissions point in the Teddington area would be nonsense.

"Whitton parents would have every right to be resentful of having a school on their doorstep that is not open to their children.

"The only real solution does seem to use part of Imperial College sports club in Teddington as the location of a permanent secondary school."

Council cabinet member Councillor Paul Hodgins accused Dr Cable of "fuelling wild conjecture".

He said: "The easy thing for me to do would be to say that securing the site is the EFA’s responsibility, not the council’s, which is technically true. I could also then casually say it should be in one part of the borough and not the other.

"This is the approach that Vince Cable and the Liberal Democrats are taking, which is both disappointing and irresponsible. They are fuelling wild conjecture that is making the establishment of the school more difficult."

Parents were left disappointed last year when the opening date was postponed by 12 months after it failed to secure a site.

To view the petition, visit