Office block could be Kingston's next free school

Free thinking: Department for Education buys up office block as a free school site

Free thinking: Department for Education buys up office block as a free school site

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This Is Local London: Photograph of the Author by , Deputy editor

An office block could be Kingston's next free school after being bought by the Department for Education.

Kingstons House, in Coombe Road, was sold to the Education Funding Agency (EFA), an executive agency of the DfE, for an undisclosed fee last month.

It is understood the agency plans to turn the five-storey office block into a one-form entry free school.

Pupils would benefit from a passenger lift, comfort cooling in the office block which is near Norbiton station.

The deal was agreed with developers CNM Estates, which is based inside the building and has had it under option for the past five years from owner Chalford Property.

Kingston-based property consultants Cattaneo have been appointed property manager for the Secretary of State.

CNM Estates chairman Wahid Samady said: "We had some discussions with the EFA and thought it would be better to make it a school.

"There's a need for schools and there's not enough sites, so on balance, we thought this was the right deal.

"I think the attraction is it's got a car park for about 50 or 60 cars, so there's a lot of outside space.

"It would convert perfectly into a school."

There are currently between 12 and 14 businesses based in Kingstons House, including Kingston Chamber of Commerce.

Chamber chief executive Jerry Irving said: "I've spoken to Cattaneo and they said that at this point there's no definitive timescale for when the property is to be vacated.

"There is a reasonable amount of space behind the property, but I don't know how they plan to use the whole building, or whether they keep it."

It would not be the first time a free school has been opened in a converted office block.

Parkfield School in Bournemouth opened last year in a seven storey building, housing more than 400 pupils.

Would you send your children to school in an office block? Call the newsdesk on 020 8722 6318 or email newsdesk@surreycomet.co.uk.

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