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  • CarolineShah

Opportunity Areas will kill Kingston

Updated: Apr 15, 2019

Why Opportunity Areas destroy our communities and push us out of our homes

“Kingston Council has agreed with the GLA a massive development programme to build 46,000 homes across the Borough on large sites with no resident scrutiny or consultation on its scale”

If Kingston becomes an "opportunity area" as planned by our council with the GLA, our housing targets will soar even further and we will see bigger, denser, taller developments taking place throughout the Borough

40,000 homes is 50% more than everything currently being built in Vauxhall, Battersea and Nine Elms, and represents the equivalent of 10 Opportunity Areas as defined by the GLA. As an "opportunity area", Kingston will also be expected to make provision for at least 5,000 jobs, although the Kingston Transport Study 2017, has put the figure as a massive 43,000.

JUST SPACE , a voice for Londoners at grass-roots level during the formulation of London’s major planning strategy, say that Opportunity Areas destroy communities.

Question M14 f): Would the development proposed in the Opportunity Areas support policy GG1 “building strong and inclusive communities” and Policy SD10 “strategic and local regeneration”?

We do not believe that OA development as proposed in SD1 can or is achieving either of these. 1. Opportunity Areas are not producing strong and inclusive communities

“Strong and inclusive communities” cannot be achieved when the demands on infrastructure and the need to meet a pre-determined quantum of development within challenging sites lead to (a) exclusion because affordable and especially social rent housing cannot be delivered and (b) existing accessible, affordable and productive housing, jobs and businesses are being lost (c) poor social infrastructure and inadequate public and open space, and (d) processes which are at odds with the requirements set out in SD10 to achieve effective “regeneration” needed to address inequality and needs of the poorest communities

Negative Impacts of Opportunity Areas

Opportunity and Intensification Areas are seen to have a negative effect on the people who live and work in an area in a number of ways

They encourage the provision of expensive, high density housing which does not meet the needs of local communities, especially of families, as family housing tends to be discouraged in the OAs. In many cases new housing is provided at the expense of existing social rented housing, of which there is already a serious shortage

They threaten community facilities such as community halls and inexpensive sports facilities. It becomes harder for community based groups such as youth groups, tenants’ or pensioners’ organizations to find places to meet. They encourage speculative office development which, in scale, density and character, may be inappropriate to the local community, and which may replace other buildings and amenities that more readily serve that community

Shops, cafes and service providers that serve the local community are priced out of the area by soaring rents. Around the outside of the OA boundaries we see a similar scale of development piggybacking on the Opportunity Area and extending these negative effects. (January 2018):

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