Richmond residents have asked the government to explain why a school first approved for east London can be relocated to the borough without having to go through a new application process.

Livingstone Academy West London (originally “East London”) has been chosen as the school to open on the Stag Brewery site in Mortlake, after the need for school places in Tower Hamlets was judged to have declined.

Local campaigner Richard Buggs, who is organising a petition calling for a fresh application process, says the original 2015 application form for the free school “raises more questions than it answers.”

“Clearly it’s about a school for Tower Hamlets, but we are being told that this school is going to relocate to Richmond,” he said.

“What we would really like to know from the Department for Education and the council is exactly why they think that school would be suitable for Richmond.”

The application refers throughout to the need for more school places and improved results in Tower Hamlets, and compares existing schools in the area.

It also describes the “urgent need” for computing skills, and sets out its vision as a school specialising in teaching computing alongside other STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) subjects.

Mr Buggs said: “Diversity in schools is all well and good, but it only works if local people have been consulted.

“People here might want a more classic style of education. I don’t want to impose that on them, but that’s why we should have consultation. That hasn’t happened.

“How do we know whether this is the kind of school local people will support?

“I think there’s lots that’s good in the proposal. Clearly [school provider] Aspirations Academies Trust has thought very carefully about their vision.”

The Department for Education makes decisions on whether to approve free schools, including the location.

A planning application is currently being processed by the council to build the school.

Mr Buggs said: “A good school site is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and this is definitely a good site.

“We ought to have a local debate about this, and not just take it because it’s convenient for the government.”

The Department for Education has been approached for comment.