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Stag Brewery redevelopment - alternative school sites

Find out more about the decision-making process around the site allocation for Stag Brewery redevelopment.


Before settling on a specific location for any school, the Council considers all options.

In the Mortlake area the following sites have been considered but discounted for a number of reasons:

  • Barn Elms Playing Fields, Barnes
  • London Welsh RFC Ground, Old Deer Park, Richmond
  • London Scottish & Richmond RFC Grounds, Richmond Athletic Ground, Richmond
  • Pools on the Park, Old Deer Park, Richmond

Planning issues and constraints

The key planning issues and constraints for the discounted sites are:

  • Playing fields/ sports provision
  • Designated Metropolitan Open Land (MOL), which has the same weight as Green Belt
  • Designated Other Open Land of Townscape Importance (OOLTI)
  • Designated Public Open Space (POS)
  • Registered Historic Park and Garden

Sports and playing fields

The potential loss of playing fields / sports provision is common to all these sites. Any development brought forward on a site that could affect a playing field / sports pitch, and which encroaches onto or prejudices the use of a playing field / sport facility, would need to be assessed against adopted planning policy. This includes the Council’s Local Plan; the London Plan as well as the criteria outlined in the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) and guidance produced by Sport England. In addition, the Sports Needs Assessments for the borough, which contain the adopted Playing Pitch Strategy and accompanying Assessment Report, provide the strategic framework and recommendations for the borough’s playing fields and sports pitches.

With the exception of the Stag Brewery site, all other alternative sites are widely used multi sports use sites in the borough. Barn Elms sports ground is one of the largest non-Council operated multi sports site in the borough. The Old Deer Park area, including the Richmond Athletic Grounds, provide multi sports use facilities, with pitches for training and matches for major rugby and football clubs. Whilst additional community use is supported at Pools on the Park this should be ancillary to the main use of the site as a publicly accessible swimming facility, which a school would not be.

In addition, the Sports Needs Assessments for the borough have identified Barn Elms and the Richmond Athletic Ground as potential opportunity sites for new sports hall provision in the borough to meet the current shortfall in.

A Planning Brief is currently being developed for the Old Deer Park area, which seeks to maximise the sporting/recreation offer available to local residents and strengthening the presence of local sports clubs in the Borough.

Open land designations

  • Stag Brewery - no designated Metropolitan Land (MOL) Playing field Other Open Land of Townscape Importance.
  • Old Deer Park except for Pools on the Park complex designated MOL
  • Barn Elms except the area with tennis courts designated MOL

MOL is in planning terms treated the same as Green Belt and therefore very strong protection is afforded on those sites. OOLTI has been identified for protection as it contributes to the local character and townscape by providing openness in built up areas.

Whilst the Planning Brief for the site identifies that OOLTI should be protected, adopted OOLTI policy does recognise on major schemes or regeneration proposals (including educational schemes), a comprehensive approach to redevelopment can be taken. In certain instances it may therefore be acceptable to re-distribute the designated open land within the site, provided that the new area is equivalent to or is an improvement in terms of quantum, quality and openness. Consequently, whilst any encroachment on or loss of the OOLTI at the Stag Brewery site will not be encouraged, the policy does allow for re-provision in certain instances.

In summary:

  • Stag Brewery is partly designated OOLTI and all other alternative sites considered have land designated as MOL. Local planning policies, the London Plan and the NPPF give the strongest protection to MOL (the same level as Green Belt) and inappropriate development should be refused, except in very special circumstances.
  • Whilst development on all sites could potentially result in the loss of playing fields / sports provision, the other alternative sites considered are large multi-sports use sites, which are identified in the Playing Pitch Strategy as requiring protection and where possible enhancement.
  • With the exception of Barn Elms Sport Ground, all other alternative sites are within the Old Deer Park Grade I Historic Park and Garden as well as within a Conservation Area, where existing planning policies seek to conserve and enhance their character, appearance, setting and views, and be safeguarded and improved for biodiversity, sport and recreation, heritage and visual reasons.

Updated: 31 July 2020

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