Kingston Council has ignored the concerns of local residents about a lack of early consultation and is rushing through a planning application for a nine-storey tower of 41 flats at the rear of Cumberland House.
Despite concerns that the LibDem Council Leader has already pre-determined the approval of this application, it is vitally important that the views of Cumberland House residents are taken into account. Other local residents who will be affected (such as High Ashton) should also be listened to.
The initial consultation period has just ended (9th Oct), but your comments will still be counted if you submit them soon. If you are unable to leave a comment on the council website (there have been problems), email comments (with ref. number, your name and address) to firstname.lastname@example.org
As the Conservative ward councillors for Cumberland House, we have been fighting for a fair deal from LibDem-controlled Kingston Council. We have:
- Been in contact with council officers and senior LibDem councillors to highlight the inadequacies of the consultation and the plans for the site.
- Met with many Cumberland House residents on the doorstep and in a socially distanced meeting in the car park. Given planning advice to local residents by phone and email.
- We have tabled several questions to the Council Leader at the upcoming Full Council meeting on 13th October 2020.
- We have submitted our own comments on the application and will continue to help and fight for local residents.
What comments will Kingston Council take notice of?
Council officers and councillors are supposed to only make planning decisions by taking into account issues which are ‘material planning considerations’.
Material considerations include: Highway safety, Flood risk, Appearance and design, Loss of light/sunlight, Scale and dominance, Sustainability, Nature conservation, Privacy, Impact on natural environment (trees etc) and Parking provision. Issues which are not material considerations include: Loss of views, Devaluation of property, Covenants and Disturbance during development.
Many residents have complained about the unfair poor-quality consultation by Kingston Council, when compared to that given to other residents in places like the Cambridge Road Estate. We think this is worth mentioning, along with concerns relating to a covenant on the garden/play area. However, as detailed above, these issues cannot be relied on alone.
Some of the concerns we have with the proposals
POOR CONSULTATION: Despite promises that Cumberland House residents would be fully consulted at an early stage, Kingston Council increased the proposed number of flats from 24 to 41 without consultation.
LOSS OF PLAY AND GARDEN AREA: Kingston Council are proposing to greatly increase the density of the area at the same time as taking away much needed garden and play areas. Kingston Council recently approved the demolition of the nearby Horse Riding Centre, which was supposed to be protected as an amenity area for local residents. To remove a play area and gardens at the same time as other local amenity areas is concerning.
BIG INCREASE IN DENSITY: A nine-storey tower of 41 flats is proposed, which includes 29 two and three-bedroom homes. A big increase in the number of people living on the site will put a strain on local services, amenity areas, parking and rubbish storage and collection.
MORE CARS, LESS PARKING: For the 41 new flats only 15 car parking spaces are proposed. That’s just 0.37 spaces for each new flat. Cumberland House residents will lose 18 car park spaces and the use of the garages. A few spaces will be re-provided, but some of that space is already used for parking and one space will be used for a car club. Transport for London’s (TfL) own online tool shows the site has poor access (PTAL of 1b) to public transport. Cumberland House residents are being told to park on the street or in Kingsnympton estate.
DELIVERIES AND SERVICING PROBLEMS MADE WORSE: Problems already occur with large vehicles visiting the site and often rubbish/recycling can’t be collected. The new flats will have their waste collected by using a tricky reversing manoeuvre, despite there being more parked cars on-site.
MATURE TREES AXED: Five Sycamore trees, an Ash, Yew and Oak tree will be cut down. Construction works will take place within the root protection area of a mature horse chestnut tree.
MORE DETAIL, CONSULTATION AND MONEY REQUITED FOR COMMUNAL AREA IMPROVEMENTS: When the idea of flats being built on the car park and garden/play area was first mentioned, the ward councillors said that investment would be required for major improvements in the event that the plans went ahead. This was agreed with in general, but there has been little consultation on what improvements residents would like. There aren’t detailed plans and there’s no guaranteed amount of money being put aside to complete the works. Maintenance of the garden area has been poor, and residents deserve better than just getting the area back to how it should be any way.