17 February 2018

Two Towers

The saga of The Old Post Office (TOPO) in Kingston which started in 2014 still continues. The main decision to approve the scheme was made in 2016, despite the significant objections to it, but there was always a question over the main tower.

The Council wanted a visually striking building to mark the southern entrance to the town centre while residents wanted something as small and discrete as possible.

In the very proposal it was shown as 12 storeys tall and after the initial consultation it went up to 16, despite all the feedback saying it was already too tall. It kept changing slightly in size and quite a bit in shape and we finally got the scheme on the left.

There was considerable criticism of this and so a working group of the developer, residents, architects and others were asked to come up with something better. That's the tower on the right.

Over the week a number of drop-in consultation sessions were held where residents could give their views on the new proposal. I suspect that my views will be in a small minority but I prefer the original scheme to the new one.

The original scheme looks more modern and, I think, fits in better with its neighbours. There is also a lot more going on and I like that, one of the joys of the Lloyds Building is that there are things everywhere.

To me the new tower looks like it was designed by a committee (which obviously it was) and we have got a bland compromise. I presume that this scheme will go ahead so I just hope that it looks better in real life than it does in this drawing.

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