12 August 2013

Kingston upon Thames Society Committee: August 2013

August's Committee Meeting covered the usual range of topics and with the usual degree of agreement, except for the first topic.

Student accommodation at 64 - 80 Cambridge Road (13/12571)

There were two parts to this application that we considered, the design of the new building and its potential impact on the surrounding area.

The building looked reasonable at first glance and it was arguably prettier than the jumble of buildings that were there then. However, it was not without flaws and, for example, a closer look revealed that the building fronts directly onto the pavement with no space for landscaping.

We spent longer discussing the impact on the communal spaces of the Cambridge Road Estate that surrounds it on three sides.

The residents were improving these areas through planting etc. and we were concerned that adding 272 units would add too much demand for parking and just walking across the grass for this space to handle without considering the possibility of increased inconsiderate use.

We understood that the residents were investigating whether they could get the area designated as an Asset of Community Value. We would support them if they did.

We agreed to oppose the planning application on the grounds that it represented over development of the site.

The developers of the Richmond Park Tavern (13/12322) had been working with the Council on the fine details of the application, such as the shape of the windows, but the Council then said that they were likely to refuse the application (no decision had been made formally at the time of the meeting).

The developer was considering other options and planning permission would not be required to change use from a pub to a food store, so this may happen.

One of the political parties had gone for some political opportunism and had rushed a leaflet out warning of the arrival of a Tesco. Our reading of the mood of the area from our members who live locally is that a local convenience store would be convenient.

The Council had refused the application for H S S Hire, 117 London Road (13/12235), next to Tiffin School, which we had supported. This was a Committee decision made against officers' advice on the grounds that the accommodation would be "sub-standard", that is the one bed flats were too small and there was insufficient amenity space in the three bed flats.

We welcomed the Council's decision to use this reason for refusing applications. It was just a shame that we had not thought of it first.

While we supported many of the ideas of improving cycle facilities in Kingston, as recently announced by the Council, we were not impressed with the idea of using floating pontoons to make a cycle path along the river.

The Old Post Office in Eden Street was covered in mysterious scaffolding; should we be worried?

There was nothing new to say on Seething Wells but we spent some time saying it anyway. The appeal was going ahead and we were awaiting the outcome. In the meantime there were complaints that the site was not being maintained properly, which is much as we predicted.

The Market Place debate moved on to the subject of toilets and there was general agreement that it ought to have some.

I became the new Webmaster following the resignation of Mary Watts from the Committee.

The August Newsletter was almost ready to go out, it had been delayed due to having a July meeting to report on.

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