Calling all developers, businesses and residents – have your say on the development future of RB Kingston

map showing development constraints in RBK London

Following the publication of the draft London Plan, the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames (RBK) are responding to a potential requirement for them to double their housing target with the preparation of a new Local Plan, which is set to be adopted by late 2021 / early 2022.  This will provide a long-term vision and strategy to meet the future needs for homes and employment in the borough, identifying broad locations for such development. Consultation on the first stage Early Engagement document is currently live and will end on 31st July.

Housing need in the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames

The current London Plan target sets Kingston’s housing target at 643 per year.  The draft new London Plan has been published and proposes doubling Kingston’s target to 1,364 homes per year.  It is expected that figures will be confirmed at the end of 2019, but Kingston is anticipating it will be higher than the current 643. Whilst they don’t know what the housing target will be for the borough following the public examination of the Mayor’s London Plan, they are aware that they need to see an increase in housing delivery over the next 20 years.  Their draft Local Plan is seeking to plan positively for this.

Given current estimates, the council believe they have planning for c. 15,700 homes by 2041.  Given the revised housing need estimates from the London Plan, these sites are the basis for only half of the proposed new London Plan housing target for the borough of about 30,000 additional homes between 2019 and 2041.  They will need to find c. 15,000 more homes to add to those already in the pipeline and on the larger windfall sites already identified.

Anticipating housing need and growth – what is being consulted on?

With such an increase in housing delivery anticipated, the council’s Early Engagement consultation is seeking views on all aspects of how the borough can accommodate this level of growth effectively. Aspects of the consultation which we feel will be of particular interest to our clients, include:

  • ACCOMMODATING GROWTH – there are 2 proposed ideas for this, widespread growth or concentrated growth. Widespread growth would focus on at least half of this need being met by small development sites. This means the council are consulting on views about infill development, back garden development, extensions to and conversions of larger houses. Concentrated growth would focus on development within a defined Opportunity Area, close to accessible locations such as transport hubs. Buildings here would be at high densities and include a mix of uses.
  • DENSITY: As the draft new London Plan states that sites delivering new homes must show that they optimise housing density, methods of meeting this requirement effectively are also being consulted on, taking into account current context and design.
  • SPECIALIST HOUSING: The consultation highlights a need for affordable housing, specialist housing for older persons and purpose-built student housing, all of which are suffering from under-delivery at present. In regard to student housing, the consultation document flags research from 2016 which showed there were 16,000 students living in the borough of Kingston.  Only 1,500 new student bedrooms were built in the borough in the last 10 years and there are no current applications in the pipeline.
  • SELF-BUILD: They are also seeking suggestions on how they can help meet the needs of people on the self-build register.
  • GREEN BELT: With 17% of the Borough designated as Green Belt and 15% of the borough designated as Metropolitan Open Land, views are being sought on whether development should be considered in the Green Belt or Metropolitan Open Land if housing targets can’t be met.
  • EMPLOYMENT: There is a clear focus on supporting start up business and SMEs and providing a range of work-spaces to expand Kingston’s offer to businesses. To support the ever-changing face of the high street they are also consulting on flexible land uses.
  • SITE ASSESSMENTS: In 2017 RBK launched a Call for Sites consultation. The Council have collated all 150+ sites into a Site Assessments document which they are also seeking responses to.

How to get involved

RBK’s Local Plan Early Engagement consultation will run until the 31st July 2019. The Council are also running several workshops during this period.

This consultation represents a real chance to have your say on the future development of the Borough from the outset. Many of these proposals are in their infancy and this represents a prime opportunity to influence the evolution of these suggested local plan reforms and to potentially have a long-term impact on the planning process for development in the area.

As an example of how we can help, our mapping team have already identified areas within the Borough that are constrained (highlighted in orange on the image above). If you own a site outside of these restricted areas and are interested in exploring the development potential of your site in light of the anticipated housing shortfall of the current local plan and the need highlighted in the Early Engagement consultation, then don’t hesitate to contact our planning consultants to see how we can best help.

Furthermore, the team at Plainview Planning are experienced at making insightful, meticulous and strategic representations to ensure the views of our clients are heard.  If you want help in formulating a relevant response to this consultation,  or have a site that you think might be suitable for development, then contact the team at Plainview Planning to see how we can best assist via

INFORMATION SOURCE: Royal Borough of Kingston Upon Thames – Local Plan –  Early Engagement (MAY 2019)

IMAGE SOURCE: Plainview Planning (June 2019)