Council accused of "steering clear" of uncomfortable questions on Richmond Education and Enterprise consultation (From This Is Local London)
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Council accused of "steering clear" of uncomfortable questions on Richmond Education and Enterprise consultation
Richmond Council defended its consultation on the Richmond Education and Enterprise (Reec) project, following claims they lacked transparency.
Community group Heatham Alliance accused the council of "ignoring its commitments to transparent consultations" with the large-scale development proposals.
Plans for the college's Egerton Road site include a new building for Richmond College, a new free secondary school, a purpose-built home for the Clarendon special needs school and a new UK headquarters for Haymarket.
In April, Reec launched its consultation, which lasted more than a month, giving neighbours and community groups the chance to have their say on the major development.
But Heatham Alliance's founder Mac McInerny claims the council "misrepresented certain facts" to Twickenham residents throughout the period.
He said: "When asked for specific information about the proposals, the council has steered clear of uncomfortable facts.
"There is a clear need for a new secondary school in Twickenham but it's still a very risky project.
"This large-scale development would involve around 6,000 people living, learning and working on the site."
Proposals for the school need to be given the green light by the Department for Education, taking in 150 pupils each year, opening in September 2017.
If approved the school will be a five form entry, non-selective, coeducational, non-faith secondary school with sixth form provision being provided through Richmond College.
A spokesman for Reec defended the consultation and said there had been plenty of opportunities for community groups to air their views.
They said: "The consultation lasted over a month and local groups, including the Heatham Alliance, were invited and actively engaged in the two drop-in sessions.
"The results of the consultation are currently being analysed and all the feedback will be fed into the design and planning process - with a further consultation being carried out in the summer."
They also said key representatives and community groups had been invited to attend a community group forum, on June 17, to discuss the project with senior figures from the parties involved.
The planning process for phase one of the development, the new college building and Haymarket building, is due to commence in spring 2014, with the second phase, including the schools, set for autumn.
Construction is scheduled to begin in summer 2015, with Haymarket’s buildings due for completion in late 2016, with the school’s and the college’s the following year.
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