MP for Hendon Matthew Offord yesterday presented a petition in the House of Commons opposing the relocation of a Hindu free school to Edgware.

The petition, signed by more than 1,000 residents of the Broadfields Estate and the surrounding area, opposes the relocation of Harrow-based Hindu Free School Avanti House to a piece of land between Hartland Drive and Broadfields Primary School.

Residents are concerned the piece of land could not accommodate 1,680 pupils, that sport pitches would be placed on green belt land and the "unsustainable" increase in traffic on the two main roads leading onto the A41 caused by parents dropping off and collecting their children from the school. 

Mr Offord said: “While the Government knows I am a strong supporter of free schools, the proposal to site the Avanti House School at this location is not viable.

“The two other schools on the estate already produce congestion at morning and leaving times and an increase in cars would make life intolerable for local residents.

“I am pressing both the Education Secretary Michael Gove and Barnet Borough Council to consider alternative locations such as the Barnet College site in Colindale, which will become available when the college moves.”

Mr Offord also highlighted a petition submitted to Barnet Council that contained 1,025 signatures in opposition to the proposals.

Chairman of the Broadfields Estate Residents Association Andrew Simons welcomed the fact Mr Offord had presented the petition.

He said: “This shows Mr Offord is behind local people and our common sense concerns, notwithstanding the fact he is for free schools.

“We feel positive about this. Every local councillor we have spoken to has agreed the site is not right and is behind the petition.

“We understand planning permission has not yet been put in place and the school is looking at alternative sites.”

Principal of Avanti House School Gareth Jones said he understood why Mr Offord was presenting the petition since it was his job to represent the interests of his constituents.

He added: “There is a clash here between the country's need for schools and the not in my backyard attitude of residents.”

The petition to Barnet Council can be found here: