At the end of March, despite huge public opposition, the Tories celebrated another step towards building Turing House School on the Hospital Bridge Road site. With only weeks to go to the election, Conservative-run Richmond Council welcomed the sale of the land by Labour controlled Hounslow Council to the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA).
It is now six years since Turing House was first proposed, and three years since the school opened on a temporary site in Teddington. Their quest for a permanent site could have ended years ago if the council had helped by offering land it already owned at the David Lloyd site.
Councillor John Coombs said, "Your Heathfield and Whitton Lib Dem teams remain opposed to the Hospital Bridge Road site. If elected we would work with local residents to challenge the ESFA’s choice and fully support residents. Any Tory councillor is most likely to support their party line regardless of residents' concerns about traffic and over-development".
Labour candidates who jumped on the election bandwagon a couple of months ago must now hang their heads in shame after their colleagues in Hounslow agreed the sale. What's worse is Twickenham's Labour General Election candidate, who is also a Hounslow cabinet member, has signed off the deal.
Cllr Liz Jaeger added, "If the ESFA have unconditionally bought the land, it could still be possible to take on the Hospital Bridge Road site as public open space for Whitton and offer the David Lloyd site in exchange. But this would require a change in political leadership of the council”.
The election in May is a clear choice between Lib Dems who supported residents’ opposition over the last two years or Conservatives who championed the Turing relocation to the Hospital Bridge Road site and who have to date supported the party line. Labour's decision to sell the land with only weeks to go, must surely vanquish any faint hopes they had to win their first councillors in 20 years.