PETITION: Demand better on development in Kingston

Canbury Ward Campaigner, Caroline Shah, has launched a resident petition asking for the Scrutiny Panel to re-evaluate the decision to put out an ‘Issues and Options’ document to consultation, to form the new Local Plan.

The Council propose building over 30,000 new homes in the borough between 2019 and 2041, without providing information on where these homes will be built, with the misleading assumption that a Borough wide Opportunity Area is a foregone conclusion, and without consultation on whether residents agree with this target. This figure is also nearly three times the number of homes needed even for the huge increase in population that the Council is planning

Caroline said: “Many of the questions the Council are asking residents are based on limited and closed or biased information, often focus on meaningless detail, and are biased in issues and content towards jobs and business, overlooking key issues such as CrossRail 2.

She added: “Furthermore, it is unacceptable that the decision to put this incomplete document out to consultation, given the scale and type of growth envisaged, was the penultimate item on a long agenda, with the meeting, and discussion on this decision, being brought to a premature close after nearly five hours. One councillor even abstained because they didn’t feel able to make a reasoned decision past midnight.

“We need your support to take this decision to the Scrutiny Panel, to ensure decision making in Kingston is sound and based on the facts. We demand better for residents on the issue of growth and development in Kingston.”

Sign the petition below:

Call-in of Issues and Options for the Local Plan decision

  

We, the undersigned, hereby call in the decision number 3 of the Strategic Housing and Planning Committee of Kingston Council on Thursday 8 November 2018, Issues and Options for the Local Plan, for the following reasons:

- “The Opportunity Area” referred to on page 6 of the document does not exist
- The Council appears to have agreed with the GLA behind closed doors to merge the creation of a Local Plan with the creation of an Opportunity Area Planning Framework. The nature of the growth strategy that Kingston council is pursuing with the GLA is not made clear in this document
- The possible creation of an Opportunity Area(s) should be conducted as a separate process and residents should be consulted as part of this process. The council’s approach will mean that residents will be deprived of their democratic and statutory right to be consulted on the possible creation of Opportunity Areas in the borough. The council will also fail the requirement to be transparent and to consult fully with residents
- The Direction of Travel referred to on page 7, note 7 did not establish any Opportunity Area(s) or confirm agreement for large scale development in any area of the Borough
- The Direction of Travel is unsound and should be discarded – see Appendix One (http://kingstonindependents.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/Appendix-One-Call-In-Why-the-Direction-of-Travel-is-unsound.docx) for the reasons supporting this assertion
- The Council gives a figure for growth of new homes in the Borough, taken from the draft London Plan, of 30,008 between 2019 and 2041. The council should ask residents if they believe this target is correct for the Borough and challenge the figure if people believe it is too high
- The figures given do not make sense and need further clarification. Planned population growth is 23,000 people from 2019 to 2041, yet, in the same period, the council intends to build 30,008 new homes. Assuming two people per household, this number of homes would accommodate 60,016 people. The council should provide information that explains why it wants to build nearly treble the number of homes that it needs
- The information presented on sites is unclear, lacks meaningful detail and does not provide a reasonable and clear context for informed consideration by residents to take place. The basis on which the sites came forward is also not explained. It is unclear why these specific sites are being presented, how they compare in size and location with other sites that remain confidential, and no information is presented on which have a viable possibility of development. The exact location of sites is not explained
- The questions that the Council proposes to ask are inadequate, often unclear or based on limited and closed or biased information, often focus on meaningless detail, and are biased in number and content towards business and jobs, overlooking key issues such as CrossRail2 – see Appendix Two (http://kingstonindependents.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/Appendix-Two-Call-in-Issues-and-Options-Questions.docx)
- This item was the penultimate item on a long agenda. It is unacceptable that discussion about a document about growth on the scale and type being envisaged should happen between 10.35pm and 00.12 and at the end of a meeting that lasted 4 hours 37 minutes in total
- No councillor was in a position to make an informed and intelligent decision at this time of night. One councillor even felt unable to make such a decision because of the late hour and abstained from the vote. Councillor Sharon Young, at 4.32.40, said: “I feel that its getting so late that I know myself I can not contribute anything meaningful at this moment in time”. She also requested that the meeting was “wrapped up” soon which the Chair person promptly did
- The document and proposed consultation makes no attempt to identify the key issues that residents may have about growth in the Borough
- An Issues and Options document is meant to help the council identify the “issues” that exist in the Borough in the context of putting together a new Local Plan so that it can use this information to put together viable and acceptable options to put to residents. Instead, this document presents two basic options and asks residents to choose between them. In addition, only one option presented would bear the growth planned by the Council. This gives a clear impression that the council’s plans have been predetermined
- On the GLA’s website, dated 28/1/16, in the meeting notes of the Opportunity Area Growth Board, it is stated that “we need to do a with and without scenario because of Crossrail”. This document fails not only to present a with and without scenario, it fails to discuss CrossRail2 in any detail whatsoever
- The document presented to Committee was so vague and incomplete and uninformative and confusing that it should not have been approved in its current form. The final consultation draft, with what will doubtless be major changes, should come back to the Strategic Planning and Housing Committee for approval before going out for consultation

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Caroline has produced two supplementary documents regarding this call-in, which can be found below:

Appendix One – Call-In Why the Direction of Travel is unsound

Appendix Two – Call-in, Issues and Options QuestionsT

Local campaigners urge Council to review viability of town centre developments

In light of John Lewis Partnership’s 99% drop in profit warning, local campaigners are urging the Council to conduct an urgent review into the viability of growth and redevelopment in the town centre.

CEO of Kingston Council, Roy Thompson, said on June 7th that developers at Eden Walk were “not making any money” and there was risk they could walk away.

Bob Tyler, campaigner in Grove Ward, said: “We demand that Kingston Council conduct an immediate review into redevelopment of the town centre, in particular of the viability of the Eden Walk development.

“I urge all concerned residents to sign my petition below to ensure the Council is aware of the pressures facing business, and the knock-on effect this could have on developments in the town centre.”

Review viability of town centre developments:

  

We the undersigned demand that Kingston Council, particularly in the light of the John Lewis Partnership's 'no profits' announcement, conduct an immediate review of business and regeneration in the town centre, particularly of the viability of the Eden Walk development, moreso as Council CEO Roy Thompson, at a scrutiny meeting on June 7th, said the developers of Eden Walk needed to start the development quickly as they were “not making any money” and could walk away.

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Waitrose reinstate 2 hours free parking following campaign

Your Kingston Independent Residents Group team in Beverley have secured the reinstatement of 2 hours free parking at the Waitrose Car Park in New Malden. This is a victory for New Malden residents and businesses in the High Street, and we would like to thank everyone for their support.

Local resident James Giles with the new signage in Waitrose, reintroducing a 2 hour maximum stay

Waitrose recently changed the maximum stay from 2 hours to 90 minutes, and increased the penalty from £25 to £95. The car park is subject to a number of legal agreements with the Council and Waitrose did not have permission to reduce the maximum stay.

Following our campaign and intervention in Beverley Ward, Waitrose have now reinstated a maximum stay of 2 hours. Further, users of the car park are no longer required to spend £10 in Waitrose, which could boost trade for independent businesses in the High Street.

The one remaining area of concern is the £95 penalty charge, which we are asking to be reduced back to £25, to give shoppers peace of mind when using the car park.

KIRG Group Leader and member of the Beverley Independent team, Mary Clark, said:

“These changes would have impacted on shoppers who use the car park for both Waitrose and our independent businesses on the High Street. They were introduced with no consultation with residents or even the council. I’m very pleased that Waitrose has made the right choice in reinstating the longstanding parking arrangements, which date back before 2003.”

Local resident James Giles said:

“This is fantastic news. We would like to thank Waitrose for their co-operation in the matter, and their commitment to the community in New Malden.”

 

Final call for candidates to step forward to clean up Kingston in 2018 elections

The Kingston Independent Residents Group (KIRG), the local party for Kingston residents, has moved forward its campaign for better local government by asking residents from across the borough to step forward and join its team of candidates for its 2018 election bid.

Residents saw their first independent council seat in 2015 – Mary Clark in Old Malden Ward. The May 2018 local elections will see new councillors elected from every ward across Kingston.

Mary Clark, group leader of KIRG said:

“The current Tory controlled council have failed the residents of Kingston. For 4 years they’ve incompetently forced national party policies on our borough. These have traded our long-term legacy and quality of life for short-term cash grabbing and self-serving politics. Residents from across the borough have told us they want far higher standards and effective accountability from borough leaders. It’s time for a wholesale change. We desperately need a Council that will work competently and responsibly for the residents of Kingston.”

Patrick Wylde of the Kingston Independent Residents Group said:

“The national political party whip has been running roughshod over the wishes of residents for too long – and every community in Kingston is affected. The only way that locals can decide for themselves is to elect independent councillors in 2018 to be the voice that holds the Council to account. We’re calling on residents from across the borough to join our growing team of residents’ independent candidates for Kingston 2018.”

 

To find out more about becoming an R4U candidate, volunteer or supporter please call 020 8050 5096 or e-mail admin@kingstonindependents.org.uk

Beverley residents call upon Waitrose to reintroduce 2 hours free parking

Your Kingston Independent Residents Group team in Beverley are campaigning to restore 2 hour free parking in the Waitrose Car Park in New Malden.

 Waitrose recently changed the maximum stay from 2 hours to 90 minutes, and increased the penalty from £25 to £95. The car park is subject to a number of legal agreements with the Council and Waitrose do not have permission to reduce the maximum stay.

Cllr Mary Clark, group leader and Beverley lead, said: “These changes will impact on shoppers who use the car park for both Waitrose and our independent businesses on the High Street. They were introduced with no consultation with residents or even the council.

Many, including the disabled, will be deterred from parking here at a risk of a new massive £95 penalty, should they overstay in any form. A large number of residents have been in touch to make us aware of these changes which will damage the local economy.”

Your Independent Residents Group in Beverley has written to the Council Enforcement about this matter.

If you support our campaign and want to see 2 hour free parking reinstated, sign below and add pressure to the Council and Waitrose:

Waitrose: Reinstate 2 hr free parking and £25 penalty charge

  

We, the undersigned, call upon the John Lewis Partnership to immediately reinstate 2 hours free parking at their branch in New Malden and the £25 parking charge.

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Coombe Hill resident to take on sitting Tory councillor ‘parachuted in to a safe seat’ in May election

The Kingston Independent Residents Group (KIRG), the local party of residents, has announced that Coombe Hill resident of 20 years and mother of 3, Helen Hinton, has resigned from the Conservative Party and will be standing as a candidate in Coombe Hill.

Her resignation comes following the decision to select existing Tory Councillor, Ian George, to stand in Coombe Hill, despite being an elected representative for Alexandra Ward in Surbiton.

Helen Hinton, the KIRG prospective ward candidate, said: “Existing Surbiton councillor Ian George became unelectable in his Alexandra ward after overseeing the building of hundreds of homes in Tolworth against the residents‘ wishes; so now he has been parachuted into a safe seat, forcing out a local candidate.

Residents don’t want their town damaged by unsustainable development or a party-poltical refugee; they want a councillor who will actually represent them. We must ensure residents, not politicians, represent Coombe Hill, which is why I am delighted to be standing for the Kingston Independent Residents Group.”

 

KIRG party leader Cllr Mary Clark said: “We are delighted to have Helen representing residents in Coombe Hill, and I have no doubt that, if elected, Helen will work tirelessly on behalf of her neighbours. It is about time that someone represented the interest of interests rather than those of national parties, and Helen, with her proven track record, will do just that.”

Last year, Helen Hinton called in the controversial Surbiton Crescent decision to Full Council, with the support of hundreds of residents in Coombe and across the borough. To date, the controversial scheme has made some £4.5 million in fines.

Residents Campaign For More Support For Small Businesses In Berrylands 

A new campaign has been launched by small business owner Oliver Eakin to save local shops and food outlets in Berrylands who are currently under threat afer being “neglected and forgoten” by Kingston Council. Oliver is campaigning for locals to leave their Oyster Card at home and to shop local rather than heading in to town.
Kingston Independent Residents Group has witnessed countless offices popping up all over Berrylands’ streets. At one point Berrylands shopping parade had two mini supermarkets, a butchers and a greengrocers however with small shops closing at an alarming rate, landlords are preferring to rent their shops as cheap office space. Despite being a key focus from the two Conservative councillors in the 2014 election, Berrylands has seen little to no support for it’s local businesses from either side of the council.
“Small businesses are the backbone of our local economy. Once again Berrylands has been let down by the council with The Conservatives completely failing on their promises to the residents in 2014. They seem over the moon that they gave 30 minutes free parking to cars in Kingston however seeing as our streets never charged in the first place that’s useless- if anything they have encouraged residents to do their shopping in town.”
Anyone interested in supporting Berrylands’ small businesses should contact Oliver directly on O.Eakin@KingstonIndependents.org.uk.

Extraordinary meeting of Health Scrutiny Panel called to scrutinise hospital decision on blue badge parking

With the support of hundreds of local residents, the Kingston Independent Residents Group has been putting heavy pressure on Kingston Hospital to reverse their damaging decision to introduce parking charges for blue badge holders at Kingston Hospital.

Led by Councillor Mary Clark, a cross-party letter has requisitioned an extraordinary meeting of the Health Scrutiny Panel, with representatives from the Hospital being called to the meeting, in order to scrutinise the decision and for residents to have their voice heard. The meeting will be at the Guildhall in Kingston, 7:30pm start, on Wednesday 21st February.

 

Mary Clark, the KIRG group leader stated: “These charges are a disgrace, and must be reversed. We will end up with gridlock on Galsworthy Road where blue badge holders will legally park on the double yellow lines, and a situation where those who desperately need to go into hospital may not for fear of cost.

I urge all residents to attend the extraordinary meeting of the Health Scrutiny Panel this Wednesday, at Guildhall, to make their voices heard to Kingston Hospital and join us in our call to reverse this decision. ”

A letter was sent to Kingston Council demanding an extraordinary meeting of the Health Scrutiny Panel, under Standing Order 24, and was signed by Councillors Mary Clark, David Fraser and Sheila Griffin in their capacity as members of the Health Scrutiny Panel.

The Kingston Independent Residents Group will be holding a demonstration on the steps of Guildhall from 7pm on Wednesday 21st February, before the meeting begins at 7:30pm.

Can you join us and make sure that the voice of vulnerable residents in Kingston are heard?

URGENT: Petition to save free parking at Kingston Hospital for disabled people

The residents’ party have launched a petition to Ann Radmore, CEO of Kingston Hospital, calling upon the trust to immediately reinstate free parking for all blue badge holders. At present, charges will be introduced for all blue badge holders at full-rate on 22nd January.

Please sign this petition to Ann Radmore by filling in your details below:

We, the undersigned, call upon Ann Radmore, CEO of Kingston Hospital, to reinstate free parking for blue badge holders at Kingston Hospital. At present, free parking will cease for blue badge holders on the 22nd January. We feel that these changes penalise the most vulnerable in our society, and urge the hospital to reverse this damaging decision for the disabled in Kingston.

Reinstate free parking for the disabled at Kingston Hospital

  

We, the undersigned, call upon Ann Radmore, CEO of Kingston Hospital, to reinstate free parking for blue badge holders at Kingston Hospital. At present, free parking will cease for blue badge holders on the 22nd January. We feel that these changes penalise the most vulnerable in our society, and urge the hospital to reverse this damaging decision for the disabled in Kingston.

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The Kingston Independent Residents Group (KIRG) have today launched a campaign to reinstate free parking at Kingston Hospital for blue badge holders, branding proposed changes by the NHS Trust a ‘disgrace’.

Councillor Mary Clark, the KIRG group leader, who sits on the Health Scrutiny Panel, stated:

“This is yet another example of the establishment picking on easy targets. Blue badge holders are the primary users of hospitals and it’s picking on the vulnerable because they are the ones that visit the most.

“These changes are a disgrace, and must be reversed. We will end up with gridlock on Galsworthy Road where blue badge holders will legally park on the double yellow lines, and a situation where those who desperately need to go into hospital may not for fear of cost.”

The residents’ party have launched a petition to Ann Radmore, CEO of Kingston Hospital, calling upon the trust to immediately reinstate free parking for all blue badge holders.