Massive growth strategy: The Direction of Travel, for Kingston is unconstitutional and is up for approval tomorrow, 13 October

4 years ago...

Tomorrow is one of the biggest days in Kingston's a thousand year old history.

Tomorrow evening, our Councillors, led by Tory Kevin Davis, will decide if Kingston is to become part of a high rise CIty in the West with ten or more Opportunity Areas for mass, high rise development throughout the Borough. The council's apporach has been secretive and is almost certainly unconstitutional.

What can we do?
I have sent the message below to the PM's office. Please can I ask you to make the residents of Surbiton aware of the unconstitutional and undemocratic way in which the GLA and Kingston council are making decisions with no mandate and which will change this corner of South West London forever.

Message sent to Theresa May:

Please stop our Council from agreeing tomorrow an unconstitutional and undemocratic growth strategy in Kingston. The council has not sought approval to pursue and develop this strategy, and has no mandate for it from the people of Kingston. In March 2015, the Growth Committee agreed that only two Tory councillors would discuss with the GLA the creation of a single Opportunity Area (“OA”) in Kingston Town. It denied any democratic representation in these discussions and nobody has known anything about the developments being agreed. Only in June 2016 did it become clear that, since April 2016, Mr Davis and the GLA had with no mandate from any Committee agreed to expand the number of OAs in the Borough from one to ten. The council has refused to respond to many FOI requests about its growth plans since the original Growth Committee meeting. They have hidden their massive plans until the brief "consultation" during the recent summer holidays. Most people do not know what is happening.

Yours sincerely

Caroline Scott

Resident of Canbury Ward, Kingston


I would have thought that a high rise driven development programme would be welcomed,rather than covering all green spaces with housing,Croydon works very well but has a decent road system compared to Kingston which lacks enough bridges over the Thames and a real mainline station to ever become another Croydon.

What must be avoided though is the blight of trying to incorporate social housing in the same blocks as private housing,it just does not work,also much more underground parking will be required but due to the green lobby never built so the outlook is very poor and Kingston must be allowed to become an even more suburban backwater.

I know what you are saying, but the real problem is one of capacity.

How much would it cost to give Kingston the frequency of train service that Croydon or even Surbiton has? It is not just a case of running more trains, because the existing rails are too busy as it is. It would be billions.

The roads might be a bit cheaper to sort out, but not much. The one-way system was a grave mistake when it was first introduced, and to increase capacity now would mean knocking down what is left of the original town. Perhaps that is the ultimate plan, but new roads cost money and I don't see anything mentioned when these plans are put forward.

It is the same with schools, health provision and every other public service. The council seem to blindly believe that you can massively increase the population without really expanding services and infrastructure at all.

It would be a dream scenario if it were possible, but unfortunately it isn't.

I think Caroline Scott needs to find hobby! She clearly has nothing better to do with her time. Maybe stamp collecting?

Fair comment but actually I have had a lot to do, hence my silence.

I think you have missed my point which maybe I did not explain very clearly. Whether we agree with the development plans for Kingston or not, the process by which such plans are agreed should be sound. I believe there is a mass of evidence to show that the process undertaken by the council with the GLA was not sound.

There is also an explicit duty on public bodies to consult, to ensure that consultation occurs at appropriate times, that consultation is proportionate to the significance of the issues up for decision and that the decisions made clearly show that they have taken in to account consultation responses. These things did not happen in the way that they should have done.

Failure of due process and failure to consult, whilst pushing through plans that have been agreed by a few people behind closed doors.

This is not acceptable.

Kind regards, Caroline

Are you Kevin Davis?

Sounds like a shill for Kevin Davis. I am sure he is too busy signing off all these high-rise buildings to post on an internet forum.

Well that was over a year ago and she didn’t get very far. Kingston is now being turned into Croydon, albeit at the glacial speed that builders work.

I agree 100% with you on this. It is no surprise really - install a property developer as leader of the council and suddenly he wants to turn Kingston into Croydon.

I absolutely hate the look and scale of the proposed developments, but what is even worse is that they have ignored all of the other residents concerns as well.

Kingston is a critically overcrowded town, crippled by an inept one-way system, poor public transport infrastructure and over-subscribed education and health facilities.

Building thousands of new flats will multiply all of these problems but, being a property developer first and a councillor second, Kevin Davis doesn't seem to care about any of that and is pushing through the developments with little or no improvement to the already over-subscribed infrastructure. These are 'luxury' flats and in order to buy them people will need a very healthy salary, which generally means commuting to London rather than working in McDonalds in Kingston.

Kingston would require an extra two peak-time trains just to get all of the new residents into London each day, let alone the two it already needs to combat existing over-crowding. How many extra have been planned as part of this development? None!

The road system is in chaos, and would clearly get worse. Davis' plans to limit this by not giving all of the flats parking spaces thus making it impossible to own a car, but there could still be hundreds of extra car journeys with new residents laving Kingston on a Saturday morning just when everyone else is coming in.

Health is another concern that is always missed. In Surbiton, they have just announced that a health centre will be turned into 40 flats, conveniently forgetting that they new residents will not be able to get a GP appointment now! Schools even worse.

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