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Plans for Thornton Heath free school are withdrawn

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PLANS for the Advance Free School proposed to help combat a shortage of primary places in the north of the borough have bitten the dust.

But mystery surrounds why the founders of the school have decided not to go ahead.

The school was due to open in September and was controversially to be built on land at the Highbury Playing Fields in Thornton Heath.

Repeated attempts by the Advertiser this week to contact the lead founder, Russell King, by phone, e-mail and via Advance's website have failed to get a response.

Even Councillor Alisa Flemming, the council's cabinet member for children, families and learning, could throw little light on what was happening.

A statement from the Department for Education issued on Wednesday was also vague.

It said: "The proposers of the Advance School have decided that they do not have the capacity to continue with this project. We have accepted the withdrawal of the application."

The decision is being welcomed by local councillors who led a campaign against the loss of part of the playing fields.

Labour councillor for Upper Norwood, John Wentworth said: "We were not against the free school and we fully support extending places in the north of the borough."

Plans for Thornton Heath free school are withdrawn


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