Kingston parents battling for schools places for their children will have to travel to Twickenham from now on if they want to speak to an official face-to-face.

Under the joint Richmond and Kingston-owned Achieving for Children company, the office will move 11 miles from the Guildhall to a Richmond Council building in Twickenham.

Labour candidates standing in the upcoming local elections on May 22 have criticised the move, saying it will make it difficult for parents.

Labour chairman and Norbiton ward candidate Laurie South said: “Kingston voters are fed up with the Liberal Democrats taking secret decisions behind their backs about such fundamental issues as education.

“Education is too important for this continued bungling and secrecy."

His colleague and Tolworth and Hook Rise Labour candidate Tony Banks claimed there would be job losses as part of the move.

But Councillor David Ryder-Mills, Liberal Democrat lead member for schools, who is also standing in Norbiton on May 22, said: “It’s simply a rationalisation of this service.

“Very few people contact schools admissions in person these days. The vast majority come via email and other such methods.

“If there is a need for people to speak in person then there will be someone to speak to in Kingston.

"If you are contacting by email, letter or telephone then it doesn’t matter where in the borough or the two borough’s that service is located.”

He added: “I’m not aware of any job losses.

"But I am aware that the officer who looks after schools admissions and governor support is now exclusively looking after schools admissions, and we’re currently advertising the role of governor support."