LBHF names location options for West London Free School

palingswick houseLB Hammersmith & Fullham has made formal its intention to help the West London Free School find a site in the borough.

Responding to public calls for clarity on its plans, the council has identified two sites that may become available: Palingswick House on King Street (pictured) and the Bryony Centre in White City.

Palingswick House is one of the nine sites the council has proposed to sell, in order to reduce its historic £133 million debt. A decision on whether or not to proceed with the sale of these sites will be taken by the council’s Cabinet on 7 February.

Explaining current thinking, Council Leader, Cllr Stephen Greenhalgh, says: “Having looked at the detailed consultation results and my officers’ assessments of the impact of the proposals, I am minded to support the sale of the site, subject to the discussion at Cabinet on 7 February.”

“If we can do that and provide a home for a new school, offering new choices for local parents, I would be delighted. It is my view that local people would rather the site was returned to its former use as a school serving the local community than for residential development.”

Palingswick House is currently used by a range of community groups. If the site is sold, current occupants will be invited to apply for space in three new community hubs being developed. Two sites, at Edward Woods estate and Lillie Road, are already under development. The council is in discussions with the Lyric Theatre about adding a third community facility at its King Street site, as part of their major redevelopment project.

The Bryony Centre is currently empty following the relocation of adult education services to the Paragon Centre in White City last summer. The Bryony is earmarked for redevelopment as the new home for Cambridge School in Hammersmith, but pending redevelopment, could be available for temporary use by the West London Free School.

All new free schools are required by law to consult on their plans. The Secretary of State for Education will make the final decision on whether the school will open, having considered its impact on the local community and existing schools.

 See previous coverage.

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