The leader of Hammersmith and Fulham Council has warned Fulham Boys School parents to not get their hopes up after the Conservatives announced a possible new site for the free school.
Council leader Steve Cowan has told getwestlondon the Watermeadow Court estate, in Townmead Road, is not a feasible option to put the Church of England school on as he claims it was sold by the previous Conservative to developer Stanhope, just two months before they lost the local elections to Labour.
Fulham Boys School (FBS) has desperately been trying to find a new home since education secretary Michael Gove pulled the plug on its funding last Monday (June 30), citing the lack of a permanent site, just nine weeks before it was due to open.
Conservatives, Greg Hands MP and Greg Smith, leader of the opposition, wrote a letter to Mr Cowan this morning asking him to consider selling the empty Watermeadow Court estate to the Department for Education to give FBS a site.
However, Mr Cowan has said the site is no longer owned by the council because the Conservatives ‘sold it in the dying days of their administration’.
“I objected to this at the time and said they should wait until the election but they went ahead and sold it anyway,” he said. “Greg Smith was the deputy leader of the Conservative administration when the decision was made so I find it hard to believe he was not aware of this or could not have checked any of this before telling the media.
“I believe that the MP and the Conservative leader are not being serious and putting this offer on the table is wrong.”
In a letter to Mr Hands and Mr Smith this afternoon, the leader confirmed the conditional land sale agreement for Watermeadow Court was completed by the Conservative administration on March 28 so the council is no longer free to dispose of the site for another purpose.
He added: “I am happy to work with you both on this and many other many other matters in the coming years but I think any reasonable by-stander viewing today’s events might doubt the sincerity or seriousness of your approach.”
Mr Cowan suggested the DfE put the school on the Carnwath Road site - which is set to be the home of the super sewer drill - and is having officers review its viability.
He said the Government could kill two birds with one stone by buying the site from the developers who currently own it which would stop the unwanted super sewer at the same time.
FBS was set to move into a temporary space in Gibbs Green, West Kensington in September for two years before moving to Sulivan Primary’s Parson’s Green site after the school was set to merge into the nearby New King’s School.