St George’s plans for TOPO were unanimously rejected by councillors at Thursday’s Development Control committee meeting. Here is the report from Diane Watling who attended the meeting on behalf of BRAG:
“The development of the The Old Post Office was overwhelmingly rejected this evening at a packed Guildhall. Councillors unanimously voted against the development amid cheers from the packed public gallery. 3 reasons were sited:
- Relating to the 12-storey unit between the 2 listed buildings in terms of height and design context.
- Lack of 3 bedroom accommodation.
- In respect to the tallest building, this does not relate to the character of surrounding buildings.
The councillors are taking Viv Evans (RBK head of planning) advice regarding suitable grounds for refusal. They are determined to state ‘scale and bulk’ as grounds for refusal, but Viv is adamant that is not a sustainable argument. However, expect the developer St George to be back. It may not be over yet! More information here.”
While this is definitely the right result, as Diane and many other residents who have been fighting the proposal say, St George will not give up. They will either go to appeal via ‘Bristol’ or resubmit their designs, tweaking them slightly. Worryingly, councilors did not cite the lack of affordable housing as one of the reasons for refusing planning permission, which given the housing crisis we have in Kingston and across London, I feel this is a wasted opportunity to send a strong signal to developers over the need to supply cheaper homes.
I have written to the councillors on this committee to ask them to bring St George and Kingston Residents Alliance together with themselves to work on a plan for this important site that all sides can be happy with. Plans that respect our town’s heritage, its surrounding countryside, and most importantly, offer decent housing at a cost that’s accessible to real people.
Join the North Kingston Forum and stop the developers riding roughshod over our neighbourhood
Remember, if you want to get more involved in our local community, Diane Watling is continuing with the formation of the North Kingston Forum (covering Canbury & Tudor wards) which will allow residents to have a say over how our area is developed. The next meeting is at 7.30pm, Tue 17th Nov, The Queen’s Head, Richmond Rd. For more info or to say you’ll be coming, email Diane on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Well done for everyone’s input into stopping this inappropriate development. Over 3,600 comments were made on this application, around 150 people went to last night’s committee meeting and a further 400 or so watched in via Coombe Monthly’s live streaming. This is true democracy.