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  • CarolineShah

Canbury high-rise chaos - flawed decision-making is harbinger of doom for Kingston

Updated: Jun 23, 2020

The destruction of communities and nature is nigh

The planning application for high-rise development at Canbury Car Park is alive and kicking. This revised application, still at massive "opportunity area" densities, is about to go before the council for approval. These will be some of the first of many new high rise towers to decimate Kingston and the protected areas of nature around it and to be permitted with no proper environmental impact on the wider area around the development including protected Richmond Park

You have only until the end of June to view the application and submit your comments through this link: Then you need to put this in the box "Search Planning Applications": 19/02323/FUL

You can read here why I believe that the consultation on the planning application needs to be withdrawn and started again from scratch. In addition, many of the core documents that form part of the planning application are not available to view

The planning application is now for three blocks up to 17 storeys high each. The 16 storey block in Canbury Gardens already sticks out like a sore thumb and is clearly visible from the ostensibly "protected" view from Thatched Lodge in Richmond Park over Kingston

In 2018, Kingston Council agreed in a "Views Study" that 16 storey buildings like the one in Canbury Gardens are acceptable in North Kingston. You can read an excerpt from the Views Study here. This "study" was not consulted upon with residents. Appallingly, the Views Study was also never shared or consulted upon with Natural England, the authority charged with protecting special areas of nature such as Richmond Park and Wimbledon Common

Natural England thus never had the opportunity to comment on the environmental and habitats impact of the council's strategy for tall buildings all around these areas that are meant to enjoy strong protection in law

Meanwhile, if you live anywhere near Park Road, at the other end of Canbury Ward, proximity to Richmond Park will do nothing to save your neighbourhood from Kingston council's mass redevelopment plans. In the Views Study, the council has already created a large new and previously non-existent area called "Park Road North" which is defined as having an "incoherent feel" that is in contrast to the "architectural flourish and coherence of style of the Tudor area"

This doesn't bode well for anyone living on or around Park Road which is an area that would be a developer's dream

It sounds like nowhere in or around Kingston is safe from flawed, undemocratic and pre-determined decision-making

Covid-19 times sadly presage longer times of great instability and uncertainty for residents of Kingston and the destruction of our communities and neighbourhoods that our council has planned for us all

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