Kneller Hall in  Whitton near Twickenham in South West London is likely to become a school, following a confirmation from the Ministry of Defence (MoD) that the site has been sold.

New owner Dukes Education has confirmed it intends to convert the Grade II listed building into an upper school for nearby school Radnor House.

The building has a long educational history, previously the Royal Military School of Music. It has been sold as part of the long-term plan to optimise the Defence Estate for its future requirements, as announced by the Secretary of State for Defence in 2016.

To ensure any site redevelopment would meet community requirements, Richmond Council secured funding from the Government as part of the One Public Estate initiative, helping create a Supplementary Planning Document (SPD), in collaboration with the Defence Infrastructure Organisation.

The SPD was adopted by the Council last year, after listening to locals following public engagements and consultations. It builds on the currently adopted planning policy to ensure a positive community contribution to both Whitton and the wider community and respects the history of the Hall.

The current proposals are for the relocation of the Upper School of Radnor House, hoping to conduct the transformation keeping the links to the local community and benefitting the local residents, whilst understanding the heritage the building holds.

Cllr Julia Neden-Watts, chair of the environment, sustainability, culture and sports services committee for Richmond Council, said “Kneller Hall has a unique place at the heart of the Whitton community. The Council voiced its disappointment at the Royal Military School of Music leaving Kneller Hall, but with that beyond our control, we did what we could to ensure the site will have a positive impact on the local community in Whitton for years to come.

We look forward to working with the new owner to achieve the vision we have developed in conjunction with the local community for this site. Having a viable long-term use for the Grade II listed Kneller Hall, that respects and reflects its heritage significance and cultural legacy, is a key part of the vision.

We will be seeking to clarify how the new owners intend to support the provision of new homes alongside employment and community uses, which is a key part of the adopted planning policy and vision for this site. For now, I am pleased that the new owner has stated their intentions to create a new ecological corridor as well as build links with local groups and share the site’s outdoor spaces.”

The council hopes to work with Dukes Education on the proposals, to ensure the retention of important features, and to help place Radnor House at the heart of the community.

Image source- Richmond Borough Council

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