Plans for a new free school in Lee that would cater to more than 700 students looks set to be blocked by councillors.

Planners at Greenwich Council have recommended that the scheme to relocate International Academy of Greenwich to Bowring Sports Ground, in Eltham Road, be rejected.

Officers said that the new school would be harmful to specially protected land. The school is currently based in Meadowcourt Road.

More than 260 people wrote to the council to object to the scheme when plans first emerged, with neighbours complaining that a new school would sit too close to their homes.

On the other hand, over 700 people, many of whom were connected to the school as a student or parent,  wrote to back the scheme citing a need for better facilities for students and the wider community.

In a new report, officers have said that one sticking point is the proposed use of protected space known as Metropolitan Open Land, similar to the Green Belt.

Officers said: “The development of this site as proposed is considered an inappropriate development on Metropolitan Open Land and is by definition harmful to the Metropolitan Open Land.

“The substantial level of harm that would arise from the development by way of harm to the openness of the Metropolitan Open Land is not clearly outweighed by other considerations.”

The school is set across three blocks, a sports and theatre block and two teaching buildings  – with the former hoped to be used by the community out of school hours.

There would be just eight parking spaces, but 116 cycle storage spaces. Greenwich planners say that even if the scheme was to be rejected, there would still be enough school places to cater for demand.

The school says the proposed redevelopment would suit 765 pupils, but planners at the council say there is “no need” for a school at the site.

In its planning application, IAoG said: “There is a need to provide a new school building for the International Academy of Greenwich.

“Its existing accommodation is only temporary and will be at capacity without the school having reached its full roll numbers.

“The facilities will help meet the education place needs of the Royal Borough as well as those of Lewisham.

“There is a demonstrable need for additional education places within the Borough. Cross-borough movements in pupils exist today and will continue into the future. ”

The plans will be debated next Tuesday, July 30, at Woolwich Town Hall.