A forum for neighbours



Regeneration of Kingston Town Centre or selling crown jewels?

Kingston Council writes: "The council has an ambitious vision for the regeneration of Kingston Town Centre. As part of this they are now moving forward with options for the future of the Guildhall complex; investing in Kingston’s future - creating new homes, jobs, workplaces and public realm, as well as taking action to deliver

Eden Campus

A three towers cluster Eden 'Campus' development is proposed for the Surrey House Island Site, incorporating Lever House, the Hippodrome, Brook St Carpark and Surrey House. Comprising office & residential towers, one rising to a height similar to the Tolworth Tower, another matching the Royal Exchange’s signature tower. All three would breach planning guidance.

Surrey County Hall redevelopment


The initial consultation proposals are available to view on-line at the project website www.formersurreycchq.co.uk along with a link for feedback. (or you can access the exhibition boards here if that link stops working) The deadline for feedback to be submitted is 31st July. Following this the developers will be considering all the comments and then holding further public consultation in early September. It is clear despite our earlier feedback the developers intend to press on with entirely inappropriate tall buildings directly adjacent to the gardens in Woodbines Avenue and ‘pods’ (houses!) on the grade 11* listed cobbles on Milner Road.

We have submitted our comments here (opens Pdf in browser window)

Proposed Project Timeline

  • Feedback deadline: 31st July 2021
  • Second Public Exhibition: Early September 2021
  • Application submission: Autumn 2021
  • Determination: Spring 2022

Please make every effort to comment on the proposals, it is very important that the developers can see our community activity at work.

Don’t hesitate to get in touch with your concerns and comments. (chair@riversideresidents.org.uk)


Due to the foresight, persistence and hard work of Tony Sharples of Woodbines Avenue (RRA planning and development subgroup member), Historic England have amended the listing of County Hall from a Grade 11 Listed building to a Grade 11* listed building. The impact on the developer is speculative at this stage as we just don’t know (1) what they will propose (2) how Kingston planning/Historic England will react and what they will allow. We expect the preservation of Surrey County Hall as a national historic asset will carry greater weight in any planning decisions due to its enhanced Grade II* listing.

Please follow the link below to download a copy of Historic England’s advice report, which gives the principal reasons for this decision. The List entry for this building, together with a map, has now been published on the National Heritage List for England, and is available for public access. This List can be accessed through Historic England’s website here.

Listing helps Historic England to mark a building’s significance and celebrate its special architectural and historic interest. It brings specific protection so that its special interest can be properly considered in managing its future.

Please be aware that the listing of the building took effect on the day that the List entry was published on the National Heritage List for England.

Great work Tony!

You should have received a notification from the developers of County Hall to view their proposals. Details attached, in case you have not seen them. Here are the dates and with COVID restrictions easing, this will take place in a marquee alongside Penrhyn Road.

Public drop in event 1
Wednesday 21st July 5 pm – 8 pm

Public drop in event 2
Thursday 22nd July 2 pm – 6 pm

The initial proposals are also available to view on-line at the project website www.formersurreycchq.co.uk from Wednesday 21st July. There will also be an online feedback form. The deadline for feedback to be submitted is 31st July. Following this the developers will be considering all the comments and then holding further public consultation in early September.

Please make every effort to attend and comment on the proposals, it is very important that the developers can see our community activity at work.

Don’t hesitate to get in touch with your concerns and comments. (chair@riversideresidents.org.uk)


Now that County Hall has been sold, the RRA committee asked to meet with the purchasers (RER) at an early date in the development process which we duly did last Tuesday evening. (4th May)

They are in the beginning of the planning procedure and shown left is the key screenshot of their presentation. (Full presentation PDF here) It seemed to us that much is as it was in Surrey County Council’s proposal but with the inclusion of townhouses on the Covid testing site (they called them pavilions!) and possibly slightly lower and more spaced out buildings on the south side but still backing onto the gardens in Milner/Woodbines.

They anticipate providing 350 accommodation units in total. The plans will be submitted next spring/summer with an anticipated start time in winter 2022 with completion in 2024.

We asked a number of questions and emphasised a variety of points that we had made previously. We raised our concerns about the loss of the walk through from Milner Road to Penrhyn Road and the level of fencing around the perimeter of SCC. RER advised that it was a condition of their buildings insurance to prevent squatters and protect the historic and other assets. They also confirmed that the two houses in Milner Road owned by RER would be renovated (again!) and not be part of the development.

At this stage we do not think there is any action that any of us can take as we await further details of the plans. The RRA planning and development subgroup are monitoring things very keenly.

RER seemed to want to engage with the residents, which was encouraging and we will continue to ask to meet with them and keep you abreast of any further developments. Early days…

Don’t hesitate to get in touch with your concerns and comments. (chair@riversideresidents.org.uk)


The new owner of County Hall, is a new and seemingly very high end residential developer called RER. Recent projects include the conversion of a Grade II Listed Georgian building in Richmond (link).

The outline plan is vague, and stated on https://formersurreycchq.co.uk/ as “a high quality, residential led, mixed used development comprising residential units (including affordable housing) and commercial / community floorspace. Targeting submission of a detailed planning application Q3/Q4 2021 with detailed planning permission anticipated Q3/Q4 2022.”

17 Clifford Street, First Floor, Mayfair, London, W1S 3RQ
T 020 7099 1455 E contact@rer.uk.com

Useful websites
http://www.rer.uk.com/ Here, they list their recent developments
http://www.rer.uk.com/former-surrey-county-hall-hq – provides a scant outline for SCH with timeline for a detailed planning application Q3/Q4 2021 with detailed planning permission anticipated Q3/Q4 2022.

RER have set up a new company RER Kingston Limited purely to hold the County Hall development.

For clarity, the Bittoms car park was not included in the sale and this remains in the ownership of the County Council. We are in touch with the developer retained communications consultancy BECG (Built Environment Communications Group) and are arranging an online meeting with them, possibly week commencing 3rd May.

Covid test facility Milner Road

Dear Denise

I am writing on behalf of the Riverside Residents Association (RRA) to express some concerns about the testing centre:

  • Residents are fully aware of the need for testing centres and have little objection to County Hall being used.
  • However, we still think that the front of County Hall is a better site for access and visibility and remain unconvinced that access issues have prevented its use. Several pantechnicon lorries are often on the front of County Hall when filming is in progress as well as large food trucks and other vehicles. There are also two large open courtyards that might have been used and similar large vehicles drive in and out of them.
  • Milner Road is a very quiet residential road and we are concerned about the level of noise that the site will generate both from members of the public and from staff. Noise echoes from the hard surfaces of the buildings and staff arriving seven days a week in time to begin work at 8a.m. could well disturb residents. We have had long standing agreements with County Hall about start times for activity in the carpark and with delivery vehicles. We are also concerned about noise generated from those waiting to be tested.
  • By definition, members of the public will be feeling unwell when they come for tests and there have been no re-assurances that they will not be walking along the pavements in The Bittoms, Oaklea Passage, Milner Road and Woodbines Avenue. For example, if they (with symptoms) are coming from Portsmouth Road then they will be walking up Woodbines Avenue, down Milner Road and into the site.
  • There are a number of residents who shielded due to health conditions and there is concern about spread from members of the public to them.
  • There is no indication of how queueing will be managed – along Milner Road and Woodbines Avenue, in the Bittoms and Woodbines Avenue?
  • We are also concerned about litter. Across Kingston there has been a proliferation of discarded face masks, tissues, coffee cups which are therefore likely to occur in the car park – all potential health hazards for residents.

Lack of consultation with residents where these issues could have been raised and discussed is of serious concern, the expectation is that that there should have been dialogue to allay fears about spread to the residents as the host community.

I look forward to your urgent response as a letter has just arrived telling us that work will begin tomorrow.

Mary Webb
Vice Chair

Riverside Residents Association

Good afternoon Mary,

Thank you for your message and my apologies for the delay in coming back to you.

The rear car park of Surrey County Hall was one of three potential sites which were considered by the Department for Health and Social Care at the site survey last Thursday.

The car park in front of County Hall was also considered, and was Kingston Council’s preferred option. Unfortunately it does not have sufficient width to accommodate both staff and removal vehicles plus the testing pods in a safe way.

The testing facilities are all self enclosed units and should generate little noise, some will also have a flexible covering which will also help to reduce and absorb any noise from the site. Surrey County Hall operating hours are from 06:30 -18:30, with the building remaining open until 20:00, so the testing site will keep within the normal opening times. The entire site will be surrounded by fencing to make sure it is secure, and we hope to cover the fencing in artwork to make it look a little bit less clinical.

As it currently stands, each person attending the site will have registered and will be given a prearranged time slot for their test. Therefore, long queues are not anticipated, but to address any possible noise from those waiting, we can place signs reminding attendees to respect local residents and keep quiet.

Anyone attending the site will need to walk as there is no vehicular access. When an appointment is booked via the gov.uk booking platform the recipient of the test will be told that they must arrive by foot and wear a face covering. Anyone that does drive will be directed to the Bittoms car park. Access to the site is intended to be along the footpath of Milner Road opposite one of the fire exits from Surrey County Hall.

There will be 24/7 security to maintain an orderly site. In addition contractors will attend the site to clear waste. This will include cleaning of the toilets, clinical waste as well as general waste.

Residents who have been shielding or who are continuing to shield, should follow government guidance when out in public, wear a face covering, avoid close contact, wash your hands frequently. The Council also has a range of support for shielding residents and this can be accessed here.

I do hope this answers your concerns but please do get in touch if you need any more information and I will try to assist.


Denise Parry

Neighbourhood and Communities Manager – Kingston Town Healthy & Safe Communities, Communities Directorate

Dear Denise

I am writing on behalf of the Riverside Residents Association.

Thank you for your reply which has commented on some of the issues that I raised.

Your inbox this morning will contain emails from residents who have already been very greatly impacted by the site preparation, particularly in respect of noise and light pollution which is wholly unacceptable in a quiet residential area. I look forward to hearing your response to these concerns and for comprehensive plans to ameliorate the impact on residents. Perhaps you might consult us.

In respect of the other issues raised in my email:

  • Again, the siting of the testing centre at the rear of County Hall over the front or the courtyards is unconvincing. Both are larger and more accessible.
  • County Hall is open from 6.30 – 8p.m., people park their cars and enter so they are not in the car park for any length of time and not in any number and the longstanding arrangements with County Hall about start times for activity in the carpark and with delivery vehicles should have been considered.
  • You have not made it clear how people will access the site. Where will they enter Milner Road as other residential roads lead into it? Which fire exits from County Hall?
  • You say that long queues are not anticipated but with thousands of university students returning and thereby demands for testing dramatically increasing this could be a major problem. The rapid spread of CV19 among university students is becoming apparent. Queueing could take place down The Bittoms (alongside the Court), around the courtyards and then into the site thus keeping infected and potentially infected people away from residents as well as from the large number of other pedestrians who use the pavements of Woodbines Avenue, Milner Road, The Bittoms (residential part) to walk into Kingston and to exercise.
  • You appear to be lacking understanding of the fear that residents feel about the spread of the virus as you have not offered sufficient guarantees about the safe management of the testing centre.

To re-iterate, residents are not opposed to the siting of a centre in County Hall but the lack of consultation, reassurances and planning for it is highly unsatisfactory to say the least. Had there been dialogue with residents (Zoom is used by most people) what is now turning into a major issue could have been prevented.

I look forward to you specifically addressing these issues as a matter of urgency.

Mary Webb

Vice Chair
Riverside Residents Association

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