A specialist school in Bellingham for children with severe learning disabilities is set to expand following a consultation process which saw only four responses from the public.

Pupil numbers at Watergate School in Lushington Road will increase from 108 to 167 and extra facilities will be built, following pressure for extra school places.

At a Lewisham Council education and business scrutiny panel meeting, the executive director of children and young people Sara Williams said keeping pupils with special educational needs and disabilities in the area was the most preferred option, following a consultation period which saw a leaflet drop, public meeting and online survey.

She said: “Now we have demands for those spaces and providing those spaces is far more desirable option than sending young people out of borough.”

Two of the four responses supported the expansion, agreeing pupils should not be sent out of borough.

One response was concerned the expansion would increase traffic in an already-congested area.

And one response did not support the proposal, with a concern for the parent to teacher ratio.

Councillor Alan Hall said he was not surprised there was a low response rate and asked for more involvement with local members and the community.

He said: “Demand for places is extraordinary and ever-increasing but it’s when these things come to building and planning and involve changes to the environment… [we] would ask officers involve local members and others in the community as there may be other solutions. What we don’t want is to be derailing plans for school expansion.”

The building is expected to be completed by September 2019.