14 July 2014

Kingston upon Thames Society Committee: July 2014

July's Kingston upon Thames Society Committee Meeting was mostly concerned with finding a new Chairman and the process we follow for assessing Planning Applications.

New Chairman

With Jennifer having announced that this would be her last year as Chairman, the Committee had started the process of looking for a new one. It was generally agreed that we should seek somebody from outside of the current Committee to bring a new viewpoint to our work.

It was also hoped that we could attract somebody already active in the public realm locally so that they could use their existing contacts to help to promote the Society's views and to raise our profile. One potential source was the councillors who had recently lost their seats in the local elections. Some specific names were mentioned (but I am not going to name them here) but no obvious candidate emerged.

All of the Committee were charged with coming back with ideas at the next meeting.

Assessing Planning Applications

I presented a proposed process for assessing Planning Applications. The main changes from the old one was that the Weekly Lists from Kingston Council would be sent to all Committee members and certain individuals would be responsible for identifying applications worth considering according to their local or professional knowledge.

In my new role as Planning Secretary it would be my duty to manage the activity rather than to be the main commentator. Planning Applications would be managed from initial assessment through to final decision. Previously we had sometimes lost sight of applications after we had made our comments and we did not know whether they had been accepted, rejected or withdrawn.

I also wanted to do more publicity on our decisions. This could include, for example, notices to our members, announcements on our website, Facebook and Twitter, or press releases.

The broad idea was approved and it was accepted that a lot of the detail will fall out of actually trying it. Things that had yet to be resolved included the use of paper copies of the plans and the possible need for separate meetings to consider applications.

Other business

A visit had been arranged to the new Quaker House.

The Gas Holders' site came up again in response to correspondence received from the public. This generated some heat but no action. The letter on the original (taller) application stood and no response was made on the revised application.

It was decided that we would not as a Society comment on the current consultations on Eden Walk, Ashdown Road Car Park and New Malden but Committee members were encouraged to comment individually.

It was agreed that a priority for the mini-Holland scheme should be safety and a letter to this effect was to be drafted for consideration at the next meeting.

There was some dissatisfaction with the way that the Ancient Market had turned out but it was agreed that there was no need for immediate action and that we would continue to monitor the situation.

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