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  • Writer's pictureCarolineShah

Kingston Council said it wanted to make its new leisure centre accessible to us all - but is it?

Kingston council's consultation for a new leisure centre did not give us all the facts

Donate to seek a legal opinion and send a legal letter here

Here is the third of a series of questions

Question Three

Did Kingston Council give residents sufficient information for us to understand if the new leisure centre will be truly accessible to us all?

If you think that evidence undermines the council's claims, please donate now to help seek a legal opinion on whether there are ground to ask the council to reconsider its plans

Kingston Council did NOT tell us:

  • There will only be two disabled parking bays on site for a leisure and community centre offering football, squash, netball, gym, climbing and swimming facilities and competition events across many sports

  • The two disabled parking bays will be accessed over a pedestrian area between the playground and the leisure centre

  • Disabled drivers will have to navigate over an area where coaches will be reversing and that delivery, refuse and servicing vehicles will also use to access the site

  • Disabled people and anyone else accessing the centre by public transport will have to cross a dual carriageway from most directions

  • The centre is not easily accessible for everyone by public transport - especially people with protected characteristics. The information used to support the transport statement is irrational, inconsistent and arbitrary

  • There will be no parking around the centre apart from a handful of resident bays that allow parking only for a maximum of two or four hours

  • The Cattle Market Car Park will not be available for parking to visit the new centre as the business case for the leisure centre apparently includes building residential tower blocks on The Cattle Market

  • General access to the centre from across the Borough for all people is poor given poor and intermittent train services to Kingston and long bus journey times especially from Chessington which has no pool

  • Although many buses terminate in Kingston, giving the illusion that the leisure centre is easy to get to by public transport, the TFL WebCat tool shows that buses dissipate quickly in different directions when you leave the town centre so that the leisure centre site is neither easy or quick to access by bus from many places in the Borough

  • Direct train services to the new centre only service two places in Kingston - Norbiton and New Malden - with only two trains an hour at weekends and more recently no trains at all sometimes on a Sunday

  • The number of coaches that will be using the pedestrian area and disabled parking area of the new leisure centre site in order to complete three point turns in order to exit Fairfield Road, especially when sporting competitions are taking place

  • The risks and restrictions to pedestrian and disabled driver access that will arise from having an unknown and potentially large number of coaches queuing on Fairfield Road to turn around on the leisure centre site, given there will be only two coach parking spaces on Fairfield Road

You can read the assumptions used by the council in arriving at its conclusions about how people will accesss the new centre and why I believe they are flawed here

If you think Kingston Council did not tell us everything we needed to know in order to give proper answers to their questions about the accessibility of the proposed leisure centre, please donate to the fundraiser now to see if there are legal grounds to ask the council to reconsider its plans

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