January's Kingston upon Thames Society Committee Meeting was fairly typical with internal affairs to consider as well as some planning applications.
The main points of the Annual General Meeting had been settled previously but there were several smaller details to sort out, such as who was going to provide the drinks and nibbles. I offered to issue a press release about the meeting but given the recent history with the local papers I was not expecting it to be published. That was one of the many things that I wanted us to work on in the following year.
The first step in this year's Heritage Open Days (HODs) was to apply to Kingston Council for a small grant for the printing of the brochure. I explained that although HODs was a Borough-wide activity we had to apply to one of the Neighbourhood Committees and would apply to Kingston as most of the HODs properties were there. After a short discussion it was agreed that we should keep things simple and apply for the same as last year and not go for anything additional like posters.
We discussed possible speakers for our Public Meetings. February (Andrew Sutherland on the former Surbiton Police Station) and March (the new Chairman) had already been confirmed. We were hoping to get a speaker on Parkleys and on the new proposal for New Malden.
Our finances were alright but falling year-on-year meaning that they will need to be addressed at some point. Some of the ideas that will be considered by the new committee after the AGM include more visits and some socials. This is in addition to the proposal to charge non-members a nominal sum for attending our Public Meetings that will be voted on at the AGM.
The Old Post Office
We had arranged to meet with the developer the following Monday. There would be another exhibition on at The Old Post Office before then which most of us would visit to get the latest on the development.
We had also been ploughing through the planning application as well and the visual impact assessments had proved to be the most interesting, and controversial.
We were a little sceptical of the way that some of the views had been presented as these seemed to be chosen from vantage points that best suited the developer. I agreed to write to the Council to ask how the vantage points were chosen.
The first tranche of work under the mini-Holland was due to go to the Infrastructure, Projects and Contracts Committee the following day. Out of a total of some £30m, about £13m was to be allocated and of that £6m was for the Kingston Station scheme.
We were keen to find out more about the proposals and the way that they would be approved. These were likely to be through traffic orders rather than a planning application so this would be an unfamiliar process for us.
I agreed to write to the Council to establish what the process and timetable would be.
University Town House
We had had a presentation on the University Town House in May and the planning application had been in one of the recent weekly planning lists. Howard had circulated some comments by email and these had been held to allow for a discussion at committee.
The new scheme was broadly the same as that we had seen in May but was one storey lower and the interior space had been remodelled to reduce the amount of circulatory space.
I took yet another action, this time to submit our comments on the proposal.