An investigation is underway at the Malden Centre following reports an allegation of abusive behaviour was made against a councillor working there.

As yet unconfirmed reports emerged on Monday that Liberal Democrat Councillor Lesley Heap (Beverley Ward) had been suspended from teaching children's swimming at the Malden Centre in New Malden.

The Malden Centre reportedly received an allegation from a parent that Cllr Heap had been "verbally and physically abusive" towards a child attending her swimming class at the centre.

A spokesperson from the team at the Centre confirmed they were investigating an abuse allegation.

Responding to a request from the Surrey Comet, a spokesperson for Places Leisure, who manage the Malden Centre, said: "We understandably take any reports of this nature extremely seriously.

"We are currently conducting a full investigation, including conversations with everyone present on the day, to ensure any appropriate action will be taken."

In response to to the reports, Kingston Independent Residents' Group (KIRG) published a statement on Monday calling for Kingston Council (RBK) to suspend Cllr Heap's role on the Council while the investigation into the allegation continued.

In the statement, KIRG affiliate and former Deputy Mayor of Kingston, Mary Clark, said: "I am saddened I have had to raise this issue in public, but I have tried to get the council to understand this is an issue of safeguarding – not personality.

"If you can't trust someone with a child at work – how can we be sure to trust them on council duties?"

Speaking to the Surrey Comet, a spokesperson for KIRG offered further comment on Monday: "Abuse is abuse and it needs to be called out. If the Centre can acknowledge there is a potential issue then surely the Council needs to too," the spokesperson said.

"We don't want to prejudice any investigation that does happen but we need to be sure there is no risk to children, which is why — purely as a safeguarding measure — Mary has written to the council to ask that she be suspended from her roles there while the investigation takes place."

RBK and Cllr Heap were contacted for comment.