Kingston’s bungling LibDem council suffers court embarrassment after lockdown evictions

Kingston’s LibDem-run Council has been left red-faced after an unsuccessful attempt to turf out vulnerable residents from council owned Roupell House.

Cold-hearted Kingston Council hit the national headlines after swapping Christmas cards for eviction notices for some of its most vulnerable residents at the end of December. As reported in the Metro newspaper, Scrooge-like LibDem-run Kingston Council started evicting many Kingston residents just prior to Christmas, in the midst of a tier-4 epidemic.

Those facing a quick eviction from their homes of many years include a domestic violence survivor and an essential worker.

On 12th January Kingston County Court was concerned enough to grant the tenants of Roupell House a full trial hearing, which may not take place until the end of the year. The majority of residents who were served eviction notices have now been forced out, but some still remain, awaiting the outcome of the court decision.

The evictions are the latest in a series of housing and planning application scandals that have beset the LibDem-run council.

Recently the controversial planning application for the part-demolition and intense redevelopment of Roupell House in Florence Road was forced through by LibDem councillors. The planning application was opposed by many local residents, who disliked the out-of-keeping height and density of the proposed new flats. Many councillors on the Development Control Committee also had reservations about the proposals, but the LibDems wouldn’t even allow a deferral in order to allow time to improve the design. Residents were rightfully furious about the lack of consultation by Kingston Council.

The Roupell House debacle comes shortly after Kingston’s LibDems forced through another controversial redevelopment by ordering the building of a nine-storey tower of flats on the playground and car park of Cumberland House on Kingston Hill. The decision to build the tower on the much-used playground was taken in a secret meeting, with no written records of who took the decisions.

Cllr Kevin Davis, the Leader of the Conservative Group, said: “It’s heartbreaking that residents are being turfed out of their homes at such short notice during the Christmas period and at a time when we have tier-4 COVID-19 restrictions. There is absolutely no reason for Kingston Council to be rushing through these ugly, tall and dense developments, with no thought for those it will affect.”

Cllr Nicola Sheppard, the Conservative Spokesman for Housing, said: “The LibDem Council Leader and the Lead Member for Housing are letting down Kingston’s residents. The ill-conceived and rushed evictions have resulted in many flats sitting empty, a delay to the building of new homes and a potentially big cost to Council tax-payers.”