We are extremely concerned about the way that the consultation for a new Kingston upon Thames Local Plan is being handled by LibDem-run Kingston Council. The poor quality consultation risks producing a Local Plan that doesn’t reflect the views and priorities of local residents and will not provide adequate protection against future unsuitable development.
The publicity for the consultation gives little mention of the large amount of dense development coming our way. Kingston residents should be made aware of the full extent of the proposals which could see high density buildings, high-rise blocks and building on green land for many years to come.
By keeping Kingston residents in the dark, Kingston Council are reducing participation in the consultation, and preventing residents from shaping the Local Plan on which future planning applications will be judged.
At a recent public meeting arranged by the Council to discuss the Local Plan only five people attended, due to poor advertising. Those who did attend were asked to comment on the proposed Opportunity Areas which could attract intensive development. Yet the map that residents were shown contained so little detail as to render any feedback received worthless.
Coombe Hill Ward – What’s proposed in our local area?
The currently proposed Opportunity Areas are a major concern for residents in Coombe Hill ward, as was demonstrated by the 80 people who attended our recent Coombe Hill Ward Councillors Surgery.
An interactive map showing the sites being considered for development can be seen at https://maps.kingston.gov.uk/maps/MapPage.aspx?map=planconsult
The interactive map shows local green areas covered by a development ‘Opportunity Area’ which is obviously ridiculous. There are currently protections in place to protect Green Belt and Metropolitan Open Space, but being classed as part of an Opportunity Area potentially weakens that protection. It is important to demonstrate that local residents want to preserve the local character and our precious green spaces.
Have your say before it’s too late!
Despite our serious concerns about the quality of the Council consultation, we would urge local residents to take part before it’s too late. Currently the first round of the consultation is due to end on 31 July 2019. We expect responses received after this date to be considered, however our request for the deadline to be extended has been refused.
You can take part in the consultation by visiting the webpage: www.kingston.gov.uk/newlocalplan. Printed information is available at any Kingston Library or at Guildhall 2, KT1 1EU.
You do not need to comment on every part of the Local Plan, but can just send in any comments to email@example.com or post to Strategic Planning Team, Guildhall 2, High Street, Kingston, KT1 1EU.
As your local Councillors we will continue to support local residents, fight against unsuitable development and protect local green land. Keep up to date with the latest local news by following us on social media.
Cllrs Rowena Bass, Ed Fram and Ian George