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  • CarolineShah

Kingston's disabled to be left on the street in draft new Local Plan

Updated: Jan 6

Word trickery to leave Kingston's vulnerable out in the cold?

It seems like Kingston Council is not planning for many of the 9000 plus new flats and other residential buildings it wants to build in Kingston in its draft Local Plan to be accessible to disabled people.

In fact, Kingston Council's draft Local Plan does not even have separate policies for Accessible Housing, shoving vague policies about accessibility in with other vague policies on "housing quality and standards".

If you care that new development in Kingston should be accessible to wheelchair users and other people with disabilities, please respond to the Local Plan consultation that is currently open, saying that the proposed policies KD5 for "Housing Quality and Standards" are too weak and need to be strengthened to conform with The London Plan.

Your response will be stronger if you suggest HOW the policy wording needs to change.

You can see the wording in The London Plan below. You can use this wording to suggest what you think the policies relating to Accessible Housing in Kingston's Local Plan should require.

The London Plan states clearly in Policy D7 - Accessible Housing that new residential development MUST ensure that:

(1) "at least 10% of dwellings" to which relevant Building Regs apply "meet Building Regulations requirement M4(3) wheelchair user dwellings" and that

"(2) all other dwellings meet Building Regs requirement M4 (2) "accessible and adaptable dwellings".

Kingston Council propose in draft Local Plan Policy KD5 (B) - Housing Quality and Standards for new development proposals in Kingston that new housing "must meet, and wherever possible exceed, the housing standards set out in the London Plan ...".

But there are no "housing standard" policies set out in the London Plan, so this requirement requires nothing to happen at all.

The council anyway undermines any possibility that it might have to insist that all new development provides the amount of accessible housing required by The London Plan, by continuing Policy KD5 (B) with this statement in point (3):

  • "where possible, homes and surroundings should be inclusive, accessible and adaptable".

The council then states again in Policy KD5 (D) that

  • "housing development should be designed to be inclusive, accessible and safe for all".

And, even worse, Policy KD5 (D) continues:

  • "having regard to the requirements of London Plan Policy D7...."

"Having regard to" means simply giving attention and thought to something, and policies that contain this wording are not enforceable in planning law.

And "Should" means something equally weak in planning.

But Must means Must.

The London Plan says "Must".

Kingston Council's Local Plan says nothing of the kind.

This gives developers the ability to avoid providing any accessible housing - or whatever accessible housing they see fit - every time

In addition, in the text accompanying the London Plan policies on Accessible Housing, the following statement is made that reinforces the fact that - at the very least - wheelchair-accessible housing must be provided in all new development, no matter what the tenure:

"3.7.3 To ensure that all potential residents have choice within a development, the requirement for M4(3) wheelchair user dwellings applies to all tenures. "

Here is a link through which you can send you comments on the proposals for Accessible Housing and how they do not meet the requirements of the London Plan to Kingston Council.

Please remember to give your full name and address when you send your comments. You do NOT need to live in Kingston or to be a resident in order to submit comments on Kingston's Local Plan

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