A Kingston Council officer was interrupted by derisive laughter as he tried to explain away a "botched" consultation over moving the borough’s adult education services.

The service will come to Newent House in Browns Road, Surbiton, after councillors voted to overrule residents' concerns about parking.

More than 70 students are likely to attend classes in the evenings, and residents believe Browns Road and the surrounding area cannot take the strain.

In addition, a mix-up during the consultation meant too few residents received letters informing them of the plans.

Notices in this newspaper and outside the building were placed only after officers realised the error.

Jan Rumball, a Browns Road resident and 25-year veteran of adult education services in the King Charles Centre, said: "There has been a severe and undemocratic lack of a proper consultation.

"I know decisions have already been made."

Council planning officer Adrian Harding admitted the council's efforts had not been "flawless" but insisted the authority had gone "above and beyond" its statutory obligations, prompting laughter from the public gallery.

The service's prospectus had already been printed, and students enrolled on courses, before the committee made its decision.

Tory councillor Phil Doyle heaped the blame on the previous Lib Dem administration.

He said: "This is part of a series of moves which will allow the building of more school facilities.

"We also have to remember that this council was left with a situation where there were not enough school places."

Lib Dem councillor Malcolm Self replied: "You've lowered yourself to the lowest common denominator."

Newly-installed Conservative Berrylands councillor Mike Head, who spoke from the public gallery, said: "The whole thing has been rushed.

“The concept was put forward by the previous adminstration. It has all been botched."

Committee chairman Coun Richard Hudson said: "I'm absolutely livid about this. It's not the first time we've seen this. Officers need to plan this sort of stuff better.

"I'm extremely upset about the way this is being handled."

Coun Hudson said he will insist a one-year lease on the building.

Campaigner Christine Arnold said: "It really makes me concerned for the future of adult education. Nobody seems to know what on earth is going on."

Ms Rumball added she was concerned about disabled residents who use mobility scooters, who she said may have problems negotiating heavier traffic.