The controversial site for a new free school in Richmond was referred to as a "twisted joke" at Tuesday’s full council meeting.

Richmond and Twickenham Times:

Suitable? Even the council admits the site is not ideal

Conservative councillors admitted the London House site for Deer Park School is "not ideal" and more than 1,000 people have signed a petition calling on the council to find a better location.

Bellevue Place Education Trust (BPet) wants to open the primary school in Lower Mortlake Road from September 2017, and the Education Funding Agency has secured the site.

Campaigner and Green Party member Andre Frieze said the site was an accident and pollution blackspot, and there was not enough room.

She said: "There really cannot be a more unsuitable site for an infant school than London House, unless it is actually in the middle of Manor Circus, the smoke-filled roundabout just a stone’s throw away from it.

"Siting a school named Deer Park just 10m back from the A316 seems like a twisted joke, with the joke being on the children who will go there."

She added: "The councillors should and must care. You have a duty to safeguard the children in this borough and if you approve a school knowingly sited in an accident black spot then any accidents will be your responsibility."

Council cabinet member for schools, Councillor Paul Hodgins, said it was a challenging issue and it was right to debate the proposed site, but the borough has expanded existing schools as much as possible and was out of easy options.

He said: "I am not going to argue that this is the ideal place for a school."

Ms Frieze pointed out the site did not meet the government’s guidelines for primary schools and said: "Where does Bellevue plan on putting a playground on the site? On the roof, where children can breathe in more deadly fumes?"

Council cabinet member for environment Pamela Fleming said finding suitable sites in the borough for much-needed new schools was virtually impossible.

She said: "We all want the best for our children and for them to have a happy and healthy environment.

"Many of the health problems [associated with pollution] are based on 24/7 exposure and children won’t be at the school all day every day of the year.

"I want to assure parents we aren’t complacent about air quality."