The Catholic Diocese of Westminster has made an application to the Government for consent to publish proposals for both a secondary and primary school in Twickenham.

Councillor Paul Hodgins, cabinet member for schools at Richmond Council, said the church has not yet made any formal proposal to the authority, although the diocese confirmed it was already working with the council to determine costs.

Coun Hodgins said: “If the Government approves, there will be a consultation and the case for a Catholic school must be laid out in detail. We will ensure that happens."

The education chief denied the council had given the church “first refusal” for a site in Clifden Road, Twickenham, despite telling Catholic families at a meeting on September 13 the authority has offered the Diocese of Westminster the opportunity to establish a Catholic school there.

Coun Hodgins said: “We have not given ‘first refusal’ to anyone for new schools in the borough. We are aware that the diocese has made an application to the Government for a new Catholic primary and secondary school but no formal proposal has yet been made to the council.”

Richmond Inclusive Schools Campaign (RISC) claimed at the council’s education and children’s services overview and scrutiny committee meeting on Monday, October 17, that the Conservative-led authority had acted unconstitutionally by offering the site to the church without consulting the public.

Following the meeting, Jeremy Rodell, of RISC, said: "I pointed out that the highest priority ‘key commitment’ in the (Conservatives’) manifesto was ‘consult first, act afterwards’, so there's a conflict.

“But things have changed since the election, the economic situation has got worse, and the administration could not possibly have anticipated the level of opposition to the Catholic school idea. So it would be fully in line with their commitment to consult for there to be an open consultation on what to do with the school site."

A spokesman for the Diocese of Westminster said: “We are working with the local authority to determine the exact capital costs of the proposed secondary school.”

Richmond’s Liberal Democrat group has asked the council’s chief executive to investigate whether the Conservative administration has breached democratic procedures.