10 March 2014

Kingston upon Thames Society Committee: March 2014

March was another quiet month for the Committee with no significant planning applications to discuss, though there are several developments in the pipe-line.

Tracking applications

There is a tendency for us to lose track of applications once we have submitted our views to the Council and we do not usually know when/if they are coming up for decision. To try and improve this I have started to compile a list of significant applications, i.e. the ones that we have expressed an opinion on, with the intention of checking them all just before each Committee Meeting. We'll see how that goes.

Applications that I needed to add to that list were Gala Bingo, Latchmere House and anything to do with the North Kingston opportunity area.

Cycling in Kingston

RBK's Min-Holland bid had just been approved and the Council allocated £30m for schemes across the Borough. The details of which schemes would go ahead were not known though Mayor Boris had specifically mentioned the (controversial) pontoon when announcing the award.

With nothing specific to discuss at that time the Committee decided to wait for RBK to issue specific proposals.

Our website

The Committee was starting to take more of an interest in our website which I keep updated and I welcomed this. Some changes were discussed in response to comments from the public, e.g. people quoting our own Aims and Objectives back to us, and these were to be implemented shortly.

The Chairman and Secretary said that they would go through the whole website looking for other errors to correct.

Assets of Community Interest

A discussion on the market place redesign raised the question of whether we could get the public toilet in the Market House listed and so keep them in use.

I had asked RBK for a list of protection lists and for details of how to find out what was on each list. A reply was awaited.

Seething Wells

The long-running Seething Wells saga ended when the appeal against refusal was refused as the proposed development infringed Metropolitan Open Land.

Latchmere House

Various planning applications had been issued for the site of the former prison based at Latchmere House.

There were two separate schemes of differing sizes and the applications had been submitted to both Kingston and Richmond councils. The Kingston applications were 14/12144 and 14/12146.

It was understood that Richmond Council would make the decision and would take the views of Kingston Council in to account, though it was by no means clear how this would be done.

First impressions were that the schemes lacked imagination in the design of the buildings and used too much of the open land that was outside of the prison walls. This prominent site deserved better.

Latchmere House looked like it was one of the sites that would be keeping the Society busy for a while.

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