Work will begin on a controversial primary school expansion in the summer after the Government approved the plans.

Richmond Council’s planning committee last month approved the second design for additional buildings at St Mary’s and St Peter’s CE Primary School, in Teddington, so it can be enlarged from two to three forms of entry by September 2011. The first design had been condemned by sporting bodies including Sport England.

It was only passed on the proviso there was no “adverse direction” from the Government Office for London. Councillor Malcolm Eady, Richmond Council cabinet member for education, has confirmed the Government will not be looking again at the scheme.

Coun Eady said: “This is great news; we can now proceed as quickly as possible to get the work under way. Prospective contractors for the project were interviewed this week and I would expect work to start on site during the summer holidays. As the demand for primary places is very high, I am very pleased that this planning hurdle has now been overcome.”

The proposal has been criticised by some parents, although fully backed by headteacher John Logan, due to the lack of outdoor space for their children. The first plan would have left the Somerset Road school with about a quarter of the outdoor space needed for team sports and, although the new scheme has increased the area available, it still needs a Government relaxation before it can be built.

Coun Eady confirmed the relaxation had not been granted, and said the Government had closed down in the run up to Thursday’s general election, but everything had been submitted. He said he hoped the relaxation would be granted before work began in the summer but insisted it would not prevent it starting even if it had not been.

He added: “We are not expecting anything back until there is a new minister in place but that’s not stopping us going ahead.

“It’s not a planning requirement, it’s how we deliver the curriculum and we think we have a very robust programme for how we can deliver the curriculum.

“If they said no we would have to think about how else to deliver it - a lot of our schools have less green space than St Mary’s and St Peter’s but still manage to deliver the team sport curriculum, and that is what this is all about.

“The headteacher is extremely confident that with the space he has got he can deliver team games.”