21 November 2010

Kingston Townscape and Greenscape awards

Every other year the Kingston upon Thames Society presents Townscape Awards in recognition of new buildings, landscaping and artworks that in the Society's view have done the most to enhance Kingston.

This year they also added Greenscape awards for the spaces between the buildings.

When I wrote about the awards two years ago I said that they were struggling to find something nice in Kingston. This year was worse.

The first award winner, a church hall, was little more than a standard garage/shed with a glass wall at one end. Other winners and nominees included a wall and a sign. Nothing much to crow about at all.

The one exception, i.e. a building I actually like, is the sympathetic restoration of 133 London Road (pictured), just along the road from Tiffin School where the meeting was held.

The Victorian industrial heritage is obvious, and that's a good thing.

That stretch of London Road has mixed industrial use which makes it all rather scruffy so a bright refurbishment like is welcome.

We learned that the building was originally part of the power supply to the trams. Another good thing.

The Greenscape awards were a little better, but only a little. Kingston Hospital has done a good job with trees in a neglected corner of their large prominent site, the new site managers for Charter Quay have spruced the area up, residents have reclaimed a forgotten spot in their road and a local curry house has made their welcome grander through palm trees and flower beds.

But the good news stories cannot disguise the fact that there has been very little to cheer about regarding developments in Kingston.

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