New stretch target
While we expect that our Queen's Counsel will have a huge impact for the 23 June decision meeting, we suspect that the need for ongoing scrutiny of the Council and raising awareness will continue into the weeks and months ahead. This is especially clear as the Council has just revealed plans for another high-rise development in the Eden Walk, and issues of affordability, quality deisgn, heritage, and the public realm will be ongoing concerns. All additional funds raised will go toward advocating on behalf of residents and informing the community about these vital issues related to development.
We're raising £3,500 to cover legal costs for review of the Council report on inappropriate high rise development with few affordable homes.
About the project
Over the past few months, local Kingston residents have been lobbying Kingston Council to reject a planning application on the Old Post Office site that would not only see high-rise buildings constructed in the historic centre of Kingston, but also fall short on affordable housing and fail to recognize the concerns and interests of local residents. It has become very clear that this proposal seeks to overdevelop the sensitive Old Post Office site and includes many significant policy contraventions. It will ultimately undermine our heritage assets, set a precedent for high-rises in Kingston, and fail to create a more beautiful, unique town.
Despite overwhelming opposition our Council is poised to consent to this massive redevelopment. We have collected over 2500 signatures, and with over 20 local and national groups in opposition, including Kingston Society and Historic England, and nearly 500 letters of rejection, we believe that the Council must do more to ensure that our views are heard. We want reasonable development in a low- to mid-rise town. We expect development to offer affordability, appropriate density, consider local infrastructure, and offer beautiful and uniquely local architecture.
23 June Decision Day!
In less than a week on the 23rd of June the proposals will go before the planning committee for decision. We have already approached the Council democratically, meeting with councillors and developers over the past few months. Despite our best efforts they have seemingly dismissed our concerns, and we now have little time to make a difference. We hope that our legal counsel will 1) put additional pressure on the Council to reconsider the planning application, 2) advocate on behalf of residents to ensure that our views are heard, and 3) highlight policy contraventions to hold the Council accountable.
£3,000 will go toward legal fees. We have hired a barrister (Queen's Counsel) with experience in advocacy and advice for planning and development proposals. An additional £500 is needed for printing and media costs to get the word out to the community.