Parents, children and teachers in Walton and Molesey will have to go head to head to battle for school places in their area after plans were submitted for a new free school in Elmbridge.

Plans for the provisionally named Elmbridge Free School, submitted by the ElmWey Learning Trust, a branch of Heathside School in Weybridge, were submitted to the Department for Education earlier this month for a new secondary school.

A statement released by the ElmWey Learning Trust said the school will be “state-funded, non-selective and non-faith based”.

When fully operational, the school would expect to teach up to 900 students aged 11 to 16, and would begin its first intake of students in September 2019.

The trust hopes the school will eventually be placed between the region of Walton and Molesey, but the plans could see a tug-of-war battle between parents as to where the school will settle.

Parents in Molesey have previously campaigned about the lack of school places, saying that children leaving the four primary schools in Molesey can no longer be guaranteed a place at their nearest secondary school.

Molesey councillor Steve Bax said: “I have always thought it rather unsatisfactory that we are without our own secondary school and parents have to bus or drive their children to Esher or Hersham to go to school, adding to the congestion on the roads.

“I would enthusiastically welcome a secondary school in Molesey if a suitable site can be found.

“I am keen to hear more about the ElmWey proposal and obviously hope that Molesey would be looked on favourably”.

Molesey councillor Peter Szanto said of the plans: “I'm hopeful it's close to our population in Molesey.

“I'm a firm believer of an excellent state education and I'm very supportive if there are more school places for our residents in Molesey.

“We have a growing population, and it's the best investment to ensure a good education.”

Cllr Szanto said the schooling situation for secondary students had 'improved' in Molesey, but most children in the town were reliant on travelling to and from Esher High School.

ElmWey’s executive principal, Mrs Anne Cullum, who leads Heathside School and will oversee the new school, said: “We will use our experience of success at Heathside to create a school which students are proud to attend and enables them to access employment and further education without restriction.”

A county council spokesman said: “We welcome the proposal from the ElmWey Learning Trust to open a secondary free school in Elmbridge which would be a positive addition to the mix of schools in the area and would cater for 900 pupils by 2025.”

Plans for the Cobham Free School, currently based at Hurst Park Primary School in West Molesey, to expand to a site in East Molesey with a new three or four form mixed-sex secondary school in September 2017 was turned down by the Department for Education.