KINGSTON Council's plans to build a new secondary school have come under fire from opposition councillors in Richmond, who claim it will be detrimental to Grey Court School.
The Ham school accepts pupils from both Richmond and north Kingston and, after receiving damning Ofsted reports a few years ago, has recently celebrated its best exam results, with headteacher Maggie Bailey widely praised for turning it around.
Deputy leader of Richmond's Conservative Party David Marlow said: "A new school of this size near the Richmond and Kingston border would have a destabilising effect on Grey Court School.
"I will be pressing the council to make representations to Kingston Council to look at education provision as a whole.
"Kingston has the advantage of having sixth forms in their secondary schools that Richmond Liberals have dogmatically ruled out, placing our schools at a disadvantage. This new school would be a tremendous draw for Richmond parents."
Kingston's bid for funding under the government's Building Schools for the Future scheme was recently approved. A formal consultation with nearly 20,000 local parents, residents and businesses is now under way.
The £30million school for 11 to 18-year-olds will be built on the site of the North Kingston Centre, in Richmond Road, which is currently used as an adult education centre.
The school, which will have eight forms, is scheduled to open in 2015, after a long campaign by parents, who called for more space and choice for secondary pupils in the area.
Kingston Council's executive member for children and young people's services, Patricia Bamford, said Kingston was working closely with Richmond to ensure Grey Court would not be affected.
She said: "Kingston works closely with our neighbouring authorities regarding planning and school places.
"We've had a significant rise in the number of pupils in the Kingston town area, which necessitates the provision of at least eight additional classes locally.
"Richmond has experienced its own considerable rise in the local birth rate and increased pressure for the provision of school places, so we don't see the viability of Grey Court as a local school should be under threat."