Respond to Canbury Car Park consultation NOW: Planning points
Updated: Jun 30, 2020
Whether you have or have not already submitted your comments on the Canbury Place Car Park planning application, you are able to submit more comments up until the deadline for responses in a couple of days time
I am saddened by the lack of guidance that we have received from the North Kingston Forum and The Kingston-upon-Thames Society as to how we might fight this application on consultation, habitats and planning grounds. What is their stance on the revised plans and are they standing up for residents on grounds that will allow us to challenge any approval?
If the council approves the application, the route for a challenge will be through a judicial review. It will therefore be helpful if our comments on the planning application can include comments that relate to planning and habitats legislation
References to the NPPF are to the National Planning Policy Framework 2019
Breach One: NPPF 11 (d) and 194: Significant harm to Heritage Assets
Kingston's current local plan is from 2012 and so is out of date as a plan is valid for five years.
This means there is a presumption in favour of "sustainable development", arising from the NPPF
There is a case to be made that the proposal is not sustainable development and breaches policy 11d of the NPPF, specifically in regards to Note Six of Point One, relating to Richmond Park which is an SSSI, and a Grade I listed designated heritage asset and to the old Regal Cinema, a Grade II listed designated heritage asset and to other Grade II listed designated heritage assets in the environs of the proposed development*
NPPF 11 d) "where there are no relevant development plan policies, or the policies which are most important for determining the application are out-of-date, granting permission unless: i. the application of policies in this Framework that protect areas or assets of particular importance provides a clear reason for refusing the development proposed [note 6] ;
Note 6 The policies referred to are those in this Framework (rather than those in development plans) relating to: habitats sites (and those sites listed in paragraph 176) and/or designated as Sites of Special Scientific Interest; land designated as Green Belt, Local Green Space, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, a National Park (or within the Broads Authority) or defined as Heritage Coast; irreplaceable habitats, designated heritage assets (and other heritage assets of archaeological interest referred to in footnote 63); and areas at risk of flooding or coastal change.
* The following are "designated Grade II listed heritage assets" near Canbury Place Car Park:
Former Regal Cinema (diagonally opposite the site)
St Luke's Church
Former Sopwith Aviation Co. Factory
Former Hawker Aircraft Experimental Shop
Bentalls Depository and
Former Granada Cinema.
NPPF, Paragraph 194, Proposals affecting Heritage Assets, states that:
" 194. Any harm to, or loss of, the significance of a designated heritage asset (from its alteration or destruction, or from development within its setting), should require clear and convincing justification. Substantial harm to or loss of:
a) grade II listed buildings, or grade II registered parks or gardens, should be exceptional; b) assets of the highest significance, notably scheduled monuments, protected wreck sites, registered battlefields, grade I and II* listed buildings, grade I and II* registered parks and gardens, and World Heritage Sites, should be wholly exceptional
Please note: New draft London Plan policies on heritage assets offer sufficiently weaker protection than polices offered by national policies for designated heritage assets. Kingston Council may well attempt to draw on these weaker new London Plan policies when attempting to justify a decision to approve this planning application
Breach Two: Breach of the Conservation of Habitats and Species Act 2010 in relation to Richmond Park, Part 61 (1)(a) and (3)
Richmond Park is protected for its stag beetle and the ancient woodland on which the stag beetle relies for its survival under the Habitats Directive transposed in the Conservation of Habitats and Species Act 2010, and which states:
61.—(1) A competent authority, before deciding to undertake, or give any consent, permission or other authorisation for, a plan or project which—
(a)is likely to have a significant effect on a European site or a European offshore marine site (either alone or in combination with other plans or projects), and
(b)is not directly connected with or necessary to the management of that site,
must make an appropriate assessment of the implications for that site in view of that site’s conservation objectives.
I believe that the Council will breach Part 61 (1) (a) if it decides that this project is NOT likely to have a significant effect on Richmond Park IN COMBINATION with other projects and plans without having undertaken a robust and comprehensive assessment of those plans and projects and without reaching a considered understanding of the increase in population that is happening around Richmond Park and using scientific evidence to conclude whether or not such an increase is likely to cause "significant harm" to the stag beetle and its habitat in the park from increased visitor numbers and/or increased pollution
I believe also that no proper process has been undertaken to arrive at the conclusion that light pollution from the tall buildings in this development will not have a detrimental impact on the stag beetle, the protected species in Richmond Park, which is dependent on garden habitats all around Kingston, including in close proximity to this development.
I have evidence from The Royal Parks and scientists from Europe, the UK and the USA that shows that the ancient woodland habitat in Richmond Park and its associated ecosystem on which the stag beetle relies is vulnerable to pollution which already exceeds acceptable levels in and around Richmond Park– according to this letter from the Royal Parks to Richmond Council in November/December 2019; and that the habitat is vulnerable to recreational pressure - from trampling and tree climbing, for example. Similarly, the stag beetle, the protected species in the park, will not survive long-term if its habitat is destroyed and will be vulnerable to being trampled by the onslaught of people visiting Richmond Park
Development projects and Local Plans for Kingston itself, Hounslow, Merton and Wandsworth, all within 5km of Richmond Park, are bringing and will bring further huge increases in population all around the park. Development targets for all these local authorities are set out in the new London Plan which will shortly be published
For example, what will the increase in visitor numbers to Richmond Park be merely from this development., The Old Post Office redevelopment, Eden Walk redevelopment, and the Queensgate Development, let alone from all the other developments coming forward in North Kingston, Kingston Town, the Cambridge Road Estate, Norbiton and throughout the Borough? There is hardly any meaningful green space in Kingston Borough and given Richmond Park draws people from all over London, new Kingston residents will use it for their leisure activities given its proximity to homes across the Borough
Another specific example is the fact that no in-combination assessment has taken place of the impact on Richmond Park of the increase in residents from the redevelopment of the Alton Estate at Roehampton which I calculated will see visitor numbers to Richmond Park increase by 5% from that development alone, assuming people visit the park only twice a week
Breach Three: NPPF Policy 127 c) and e): Sympathetic to local character and history and green space
This development is out of character with the area that it will overshadow looking towards Richmond Park as well as the wider landscape (Policy 127c)
Kingston already does not have sufficient green space for even its 2001 population. See policy 127e. below
This development provides no meaningful green space that would deter the large number of new residents from visiting Richmond Park and it will put pressure on a protected habitat and species (the stag beetle) that we have evidence is adversely affected by recreational pressure. There has been no assessment individually and particularly combination with other recent and planned developments of the effect of increased visits by new residents to Richmond Park
NPPF Policy 127 says planning decisions should ensure that developments:
c) are sympathetic to local character and history, including the surrounding built environment and landscape setting, while not preventing or discouraging appropriate innovation or change (such as increased densities); e) optimise the potential of the site to accommodate and sustain an appropriate amount and mix of development (including green and other public space) and support local facilities and transport networks.