A controversial decision to create a permanent home for Turing House School on open space in Whitton was approved by councillors on Wednesday.

Residents in the area have been fighting for years to protect the Metropolitan Open Land in Hospital Bridge Road from development.

More than a hundred residents, campaigners, and school pupils packed out the meeting, which lasted five hours and involved members from both sides of the debate facing gruelling questions.

Councillors voted to approve plans for the free school to have a permanent site - after it spent recent years split between temporary sites in Hampton and Teddington.

Colin Mackinlay, Headteacher at Turing House said: “I would like to express our excitement at the decision this evening.

"This is the most significant step in moving to a permanent site since our school opened in 2015.”

Richmond and Twickenham Times:

The proposed development will be used to educate 750 secondary school pupils and 300 sixth formers in a three-storey building equipped with playing pitches, cycle parking, mechanical equipment and 45 available on-site car parking spaces.

Campaigners fear the area will face significant disruption as a result of the proposals, with issues such as car parking, an increase in air and noise pollution, and concerns over catchment areas all being raised.

The school was originally set up in 2012 by parents and friends living in and around Teddington - however, due to the proposed site location parents fear their children will not be prioritsed over children living outside of the catchment areas.

Manju, a Hospital Bridge Road Resident Action Group (HBR-RAG) member said: "This latest decision puts our children’s health and safety at risk - it’s a bit rich that Cllr Bennett Green argued so fervently in favour of Richmond becoming the greenest London borough at council the night before, but couldn’t bring himself to protect this bit of Metropolitan Open Land (MOP).

"We will be taking this to the Mayor."

Construction and development group, Bowma and Kirkland previously made application to build on the MOL - which was rejected at the first stage by the GLA, over concerns that the build would cover its entirety and not be environmentally friendly.

Ed Sutton from Bowmer + Kirkland, the lead contractor said “We welcome Richmond Council’s decision to approve plans for Turing House School this evening. We now await the Mayor’s final decision on the project.”

The GLA had claimed plans for car parking were excessive and that the build needed to be fitted with electric car charging points.

The decision to grant permission for the new build came as a result of Bowma & Kirkland making amendments to their proposals.