AS a consultation on Kingston Council's plans to build a new primary school on the site of Surbiton Hospital was launched, opposition councillors attacked the proposals, claiming it is an unsuitable location.
Conservative councillor Dennis Doe said there are better options than the site, which will also incorporate a polyclinic and housing.
He said: "Surbiton needs such a school, but not on that site. The council doesn't own any of it, it's next to one of the busiest roads in the borough; it is the wrong facility for that site."
He said sites at the King Charles Centre and Newent House would be better suited to help solve the borough's primary schools places crisis, which has seen hundreds of youngsters having to be taught in temporary classrooms.
Surbiton has been especially hard-hit, and the council is working alongside NHS Kingston to redevelop Surbiton Hospital, in Ewell Road.
Mr Doe said: "It would be far better to build the school on either the site of the King Charles Centre, which is a former secondary school and safely close to the park and the Alexandra Recreation Ground, and owned by the council. The adult education centre currently there could be transferred to the hospital site.
"The site of Newent House, which is council-owned, and the land at the back, which is PCT owned, and has lain waste for 20 years of more. It is safely close to the Fishponds park and next to the Surbiton Children’s Centre, a relatively quiet area. The facilities of Newent House would fit sympathetically alongside the proposed polyclinic on the hospital site."
Mr Doe, who was a key-player in the successful campaign for a new secondary school in north Kingston, said both his proposed sites would meet government guidelines on size as well as, if not better, than the hospital site.
But a council spokesman said the sites had both been included in an initial long-list of possibilities but that they fell below the minimum space guidelines. He said the cost and time required to transfer existing services at the sites would add years on to the project.
He added: "The Surbiton Hospital site meets the government's minimum size requirements for a new two form entry primary school."
Consultation documents were sent out to thousands of neighbours, parents and businesses in the area this week. The overall process is expected to take around 10 months.
The council has signed a planning performance agreement with NHS Kingston, which will ensure the two projects are managed as one in terms of the planning process.
A planning application is expected to be submitted in August. If it gets the go-ahead, the school will open, in a temporary location, in September 2011, before building work is completed in September 2012.
A public meeting, as part of the council's eight-week consultation, will be held at the Surbiton Masonic Hall, in Glenmore House, The Crescent, at 7pm on March 29.