Below are our initial responce to RBK's 'New Local Plan'
which can be found HERE
Our summary HERE
1. The annual housing target for RBK won’t be known until late 2019, as RBK has objected to the proposed target of 1364 (current delivery is 420). We still don’t know how the target of 1364 was reached, and what discussions were held between the previous administration and the previous Mayor of London which led to Kingston being designated for possible opportunity areas.
2. Two scenarios are proposed; ‘widespread growth’ and ‘concentrated growth’; both involve NM, but the second spares Surbiton in particular. The document says that ‘concentrated growth’ would significantly change the look and feel of the areas affected but there would be ‘less immediate change in areas with a more residential character’. But NM is residential, so what is the logic of this proposal?
3. Even in the ‘widespread growth’ scenario, it is proposed that about 25% of homes near stations would need to be converted to flats, have gardens built on, etc. But elsewhere the document states that better paying jobs are needed in RBK as even with significant investment the transport infrastructure can’t support much more commuting. If that is so, why focus extra housing near stations?
4. Generally, there needs to be more brief supporting information. There are a few illustrations of developments, but they are generally in inner London and so not really relevant. The two RBK illustrations aren’t really of infilling. Also the maps don’t explain for example what SHLAA is. Infrastructure is mentioned briefly but there’s no map of where current schools and GP surgeries are. There is a question on tall buildings which would be easier to answer if the heights of the current NM monstrosities were given. No figures are given of how students support the local economy.
5. The section on transport makes statements based on London- wide patterns, e.g. ‘Londoners’ travel habits are changing’. Is this true in RBK? It is disappointing that the document doesn’t recognise that we are very disadvantaged by having no tube, tram or light rail provision. There’s no way that tube users would put up with two trains an hour (as we do to Surbiton or Richmond). So the 80% modal shift to walking, cycling or public transport needs to be thoroughly critiqued. And the Kingston Road cycle lane has sneaked in there, even though NMRA has been assured that no decision has been made.
6. There’s a useful section on district centres, and a recognition that there should be space e.g. for charities. But apart from a brief reference on ‘making space for nature’ there is little focus on environmental issues.
So many, many issues to consider.