11 February 2013

Kingston upon Thames Society Committee: February 2013

February's Committee Meeting turned out to be something of a surprise. We dealt with most matters easily enough and then got embroiled in one planning application the consequences of which are still rumbling on a week later.

Heritage Open Days

The HODs leaflet goes out with August newsletter, so it needs to be ready towards the end of July.

Seething Wells

We agreed to formally complain about sound system at the Development Control meeting that considered the Seething Wells application. People need to hear the debate to participate in it.

On the application itself we are waiting to see if it goes to appeal. The developer has six months to decide. In the meantime the site will continue to deteriorate.

Panorama of the Thames Project

We offered our supporting Panorama of the Thames Project. This plans to recreate in photographs the historical panorama published in 1829.

I went to see a copy of this in Richmond Museum last year and loved it. I think that keeping records of what we have and love should be part of what the Society does in order to celebrate our heritage.

Latchmere House Consultation

Matthew and George had attended the public meeting in Tiffin Girls' School and had come to similar conclusions, i.e. the Councils proposals for traffic (controversial), pedestrian access and open space etc. were all to be supported.

What we disagreed with was the proposal to building housing that matched the character of the area. This is very mixed and a lot of it is of a type not worth matching. Developments in nearby Parkleys and Ham Farm Road offered a better character to copy.

Development Control / Planning Applications

Student accommodation at disused petrol station in Kingston Vale is not liked by locals but officers are recommending approval. (See application number 12/14991)

There is a proposal for Willbros House, 62-68 Eden Street (next to Primark) for demolition of existing building and redevelopment of site to provide a 6 storey building comprising retail use on ground and first floors, and 30 residential units.

The main feature of this development is its height. It takes as its guideline the tower in Eden Walk opposite and that makes it substantially taller than Primark.

Despite the height and the cramped appearance of the units we decided that we had no reasons to object to the application and neither did it have sufficient merit to warrant our support. (13/12032)

Cllr. Patrick Codd had approved the Huf Houses in Ulswater Close on his casting vote, against his wishes, because of the risk of losing on appeal. The Society supported the development and were frustrated to see the Council use questionable reasons to refuse earlier versions of the application.

Regarding the Richmond Park Tavern site, we think we could support a taller building, i.e. in line with the block of flats next to it, but no application has been submitted yet and we will assess one on its merits when it is submitted.

Hospital proposal for maternity extension refused on grounds of parking, despite the good bus service.

On Penrhyn Road, more student accommodation was proposed. This was a resubmission and having objected to the previous plan we agreed that we would not object to this one because the changes resolved our earlier objections.

The fate of the Penny School Gallery proved to be the big discussion point of the evening, and it still is a week later.

The former Penny School is part of the Kingston College site on Richmond Road, it is the small white building on south of site (left of the main building) and is set back from the road. The space in front of it houses works of art by students of the college.

The intention is to demolish the Penny School, and the buildings to the south of it, and to build a large extension on to the college.

There were different feelings expressed about the quality of the building (the frontage is nice enough but unremarkable) and the need to protect the heritage of the Penny School.

In the end the heritage argument won and we agreed to oppose the application, which we otherwise liked, because of the loss of the Penny School. (13/12046)


Most of the Committee objected to the name Red Square for the redevelopment of the Red Lion in Tolworth, but I like it!

Mike D'Souza, Chairman of the Community Working Group of One Norbiton, to speak in May.

Mark Teasdale to speak in June re Market Place, we hope.

May do an outing in July/August. Suggested a walk around Westminster including the Supreme Court.

Want to do a marker for where the Coombe Conduit crosses the Thames.

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