A chilly Sunday afternoon failed to prevent 800 people braving the cold to march for a new boys' secondary school in Bickley.

The message to Bromley Council was clear – protests will continue until Bullers Wood School for Boys opens as once promised.

“The irony is we walked further today than these boys will walk to come to school here,” Ben Greene, headteacher of Bullers Wood School for Girls, told the cheering crowd.

Ben Greene added: “We want a local school for local boys. We have a really simple message to the London Borough of Bromley – just build the school.”

The boys' version of Bullers Wood was approved in October 2017 before a Bromley Council u-turn last month following advice from an independent planning inspectorate who sited highway safety concerns.

Sunday (February 4) was the second march in seven days. Double the number of people turned out for protest number two.

Chislehurst MP Bob Neill also attended the march from the Bromley Civic Centre to St Hughes Playing Field – the planned site of the school.

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He said: “I am really humbled to see the support you have at short notice. It ought to be a no brainer.

“The key objective is to get a place for a school to operate in September. I am right behind you on that. Many cross parties are in favour of this. We need a coalition to put pressure to get this.”

A temporary base for the school to open in September 2018 is now the best outcome for parents.

Nancy Lengthorn, mum of three boys and one girl, is the mastermind behind the quickly organised marchers.

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She told News Shopper: “We cannot be beaten on this. We are now in a real position of power and we have to utilise that.

“It is our absolute focus to get a temporary site open in September. A lot has happened in the last couple of days and we feel we have a fighting chance of that happening.

“It depends on everyone working as a team, forgetting the politics, pulling together, coming up with a plan and delivering.”

Ms Lengthorn said the community has united in the wake of the shock u-turn.

She added: “When you have a bit of fire in your belly and suddenly people are talking to people in their community it is a really strong thing to bring together. We are not going anywhere. This is it until we get a school.”

Headteacher designate for Bullers Wood School for Boys Anne Gouldthorpe also addressed the crowd of supporters.

She said there was a shortage of secondary school places for boys and the land is there to build a £20 million building at no cost to the borough.

“What could be simpler?” she asked the families.

After her speech, Ms Gouldthorpe spoke to News Shopper: “I am overwhelmed by the amount of support the community here has for this school.

“This started three years ago when parents started saying I am really happy with my girl’s education but there is nothing similar for my son. We knew there was a demand for it. Today is a testimony for that.

“It has been personally and professionally a rollercoaster. At one point in October thinking the school was open and then in January having the rug completely pulled from under us on a technicality. It has been very very disappointing.

“Temporary education is the best we can hope for. We are quite hopeful.”

Bromley Council has been contacted about the possibility of a temporary base for the school to open this year.

Executive Councillor for Education, Children and Families Peter Fortune said: “We’ve been in ongoing discussions with the EFSA since the decision was taken by the Development Control Committee. 

"Local ward councillors, the MP and the London Assembly Member are all committed to finding the best solution. 

"Whilst my personal preference would be for the school to open in September, even at a temporary location, if that is unachievable all those applicants who applied on time for a secondary school place through the coordinated admissions process will be offered a school place on national offer day on 1 March. 

"I say again, all boys will have a place and any suggestion that we have a shortage of places this year are simply not factual.  However, I shall continue to negotiate with all parties to try and find a home for Bullers in September 2018.”