Kingston town centre is set to have a new school after a planning application was approved by the council.

The two-form entry primary, which will accommodate 420 pupils, is to be built on the site of 45-51 High Street. Swan House will be demolished and replaced with a five-storey building.

The Education Funding Agency (EFA) and Gems Learning Trust jointly applied in December, 2016, to build the academy school as well as 11 flats.

The school will include a two-floor learning resource centre, school hall and classrooms across two interlinked buildings.

Although there will be no onsite parking, a loading bay was proposed that could accommodate three cars for parent drop-off and collection.

Kingston leader of the Liberal Democrats Liz Green worries it is “an unsuitable site” and “although we would love if only three parents from a school with 420 pupils were driving” she said that is not the case.

Though the application was approved by Kingston Council, the site was not chosen by councillors.

Cllr Green added: “This school is in the wrong place. It’s too small, it doesn’t have a playground and access will be difficult.

“The Government shouldn’t be opening schools in this method, they don’t know the local circumstances. The councils should be involved.”

Surrey Comet: Swan House will be demolished 

This school will be GEMS Learning Trust’s third school primary school, with one in Twickenham and one in Didcot.

Kingston schools are overstretched, mostly down to a rising birth rate, and according to the council’s latest school strategy “more state-funded school places will be required to meet longer-term forecast demand, particularly in the primary phase”.

Due to development in Kingston town, a shortfall was predicted but the strategy states “no action” is required thanks to the new free school.

Jodie Croft, chief executive of the GEMS Learning Trust, said: “The GEMS Learning Trust is delighted to have secured planning permission for our third primary school in Kingston Upon Thames.

“Tendering for the contractor starts now and the school will be ready to open in September 2019 with two classes in Reception.”

Parents will be able to attend open events and apply for a place from next September.

Leader of Kingston Council Kevin Davis said: “The provision of this long awaited new school will provide more than 400 new places for children in Kingston and will be a very welcome addition to our local family of schools.”

The application was approved on September 6.