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My feedback to SCC

Tony Lancaster
Member Admin

Firstly I must comment on the inadequacy of this feedback form. The four generic questions in no way represent the scope of these proposals and seem designed to reduce rather than encourage comment. 

Of greater importance is the arrogance with which you claim this process to be consultation. It is not. It is show and tell not ask and respond. Consultation should start ‘off paper’ with the stakeholders all present to firstly understand the situation and then to identify the needs of all parties. Where is the meaningful community engagement? Where is the opportunity for co-design? We have already established the basis for co-design in Kingston, I imagine you have not seen the lessons and learnt from that experience.

instead we see a barely disguised attempt to maximise a financial return for SCC whose monetary troubles are well known, with no attempt, despite lip service to the contrary, to demonstrate a commitment to protect the interests of the community in Kingston.

As for the proposals themselves, beyond your obliged necessity to protect a listed asset, they are deeply insensitive, actually firstly to the historic asset itself bookended as it is with buildings with entirely inappropriate height scale and massing. And secondly its insult to the area action plan and the tall buildings policies for the town centre and the resulting harm should these ill-considered ideas succeed.

To invent the entirely risible notion of an ‘arc’ of tall buildings, using other tall buildings that are only proposals not even at the planning stage is another example of the misguided and tone-deaf approach you have taken.

Affordable housing? Are you seriously trotting out that broken model of community soothing bromide? In the same way I do not allow my cat to protect the interests of my canary it is absurd to believe that a developer whose focus is purely and only on the bottom line is the right party to deliver social housing. Never mind that an ‘affordable' rent in Kingston is merely less unaffordable. Any notions of building better, building beauty will disappear under a rush to the bottom of minimal specifications, wholly inadequate rooms sizes and lack of outdoor space.

What is completely beyond my understanding is why you think that tall buildings deliver more? A 2017 study of 600 buildings by a team at University College London showed that as a building’s height increases from five to 20 storeys, carbon emissions from energy use, per unit of floor area, double. Additionally there is plenty of evidence to support the idea that density is not necessarily better achieved by height.

Because developers have no idea what to do with flats at ground floor level in town centre setting they habitualy bolt on retail. Unless you are proposing a 200,00 square foot Amazon depot I think only a fool would believe that particular boat hadn’t sailed and sunk some time ago.

It might surprise you to discover that there is a great willingness to engage around here. It might also surprise you that we have planners, architects, and other expertise at our disposal - all willing to work with you for a better suited outcome to this opportunity. Do not squander it by ignoring the value to all parties of working together. This has to start with a seat at the table and an acknowledgment that you cannot succeed without us on your side.

This topic was modified 1 year ago by Tony Lancaster
Topic starter Posted : 29/09/2020 3:43 pm