Harrow's first free school could be set to expand after has identifying Whitchurch Playing Fields as being 'perfectly situated' for a new site to educate 1,260 students.
Avanti Schools Trust announced on Monday that the land in Wemborough Road, Stanmore, has been identified as a potential site for the Avanti House secondary school, which would be two miles from Avanti’s two other Harrow sites.
A feasibility study to be undertaken by the Education Funding Agency will be carried out before a potential planning application would be submitted.
Principal Gareth Jones, said: “This is an extremely attractive site and ideally located. We are looking forward to the opportunity to develop it as a school and as a wonderful resource for the community. We do of course recognise that this is just the beginning of the process and that everything depends on the outcome of the feasibility study.
"However, this will come as very welcome news to our students, to our loyal parents and to the pupils in more than sixty schools in the area who have expressed an interest in joining us in September 2014."
The land was earmarked by The Whitchurch Consortium for a private state-of-the-art sports complex, and has also been recently subject to a village green bid by a neighbour the fields which failed in December last year.
Melanie Lewis, a campaigner who fought against the private bid for a commercial sports complex to be built on the land, said: "We are delighted that the land will remain as was intended, for the children of Harrow, for generations to come.
"This was always our intention and our wonderful MP, Bob Blackman, has been key in ensuring that the land remained as education land. We look forward to working with Avanti to make sure the needs of the residents and the needs of the school are met with equal importance."
Bob Blackman, Conservative MP for Harrow East, said: "This option would secure much needed space for the expansion of the Avanti House Trust schools in our area, it would ensure that the fields receive proper maintenance. It should be a clear requirement that other local schools and appropriate sports clubs continue to have access to the playing fields as well.”
Harrow Council's leader Susan Hall has welcomed the move as the borough projects that it will need 700 more year seven places by 2021.
She said: “There is a pressing need for more school places in Harrow and a lack of suitable land for development. We have worked closely with the Avanti Schools Trust who already have a strong and indeed unique track record in Harrow serving our significant Hindu Community."
The current Avanti House site on Common Road would continue as the permanent home for the primary section of the all-through school. The secondary portion, based in Camrose Avenue, Edgware, would move to the prospective new site.
Avanti Schools Trust chief executive Nitesh Gor said: “We have struggled in the past to identify a viable site and it is refreshing to see such political support for the project. "We know that Harrow residents value our schools and it is good to see that this is being recognised by the council.”