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Kingston probation service to move because it is next to new Surbiton free school building

Probation workers will be kicked out of their Kingston town centre offices to make way for Surbiton’s controversial new free school, fuelling rumours the service could soon be based two boroughs away.

Anonymous sources raised fears the key justice service could be moved to Hounslow, forcing some Kingston offenders into a three-hour round trip for appointments. Kingston’s probation service is based at 45 High Street – next door to the Swan House school site – and is one of the buildings the Education Funding Agency (EFA) bought with a view to opening the Surbiton Primary Academy in September.

A Department for Education (DfE) spokeswoman confirmed the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) had been told its lease would not be renewed in September, and that it knew the probation service would have to move. The spokeswoman declined to say how much the building was bought for. The MoJ declined to comment.

A central probation service spokesman said he did not know about a plan to move the Kingston workers. He claimed the Ministry of Justice was still negotiating with the current landlord about its lease, which ends in September. The Kingston, Hounslow and Richmond offices are already affiliated with a central hub in Hounslow. Plans for the school have already come under fire from politicians and parents who say the fact it has no playing fields, is on a main road and is not in Surbiton should make the DfE think again.

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