LibDems nod through ‘eyesore’ planning application in historic Kingston Market Place

The former Clas Ohlson and Woolworths shop in historic Kingston Market Place is to have 33 flats stuck on top after a planning application was approved by the Development Control Committee on 2nd December.

Despite many residents objecting, and the Council’s own report highlighting that the impact of the three extra storeys of flats would be ‘harmful’ to some nearby residents, it was nodded through by LibDem councillors. Conservative councillors on the committee voted against the application.

The application for 33 flats and an update to the shop unit, will not provide any affordable housing, although Kingston Council agreed a £100,000 payment.

Kingston Town Conservation Area Advisory Committee objected on grounds of height/massing and an adverse impact on key views to/from the Ancient Market. Also, an adverse impact on views of All Saints Church from the Riverside and insufficient public realm enhancements, along with other concerns.

Conservative councillor Ian George said: “The block of flats on top of a tall building in the heart of the Kingston Old Town Conservation Area will have an obvious negative impact on Kingston’s most important heritage assets. Grade 1 Listed All Saints Church and Grade II* Listed Market House, as well as numerous other Grade II Listed buildings deserve better.

The Royal Borough of Kingston is giving up what makes it special. I just can’t understand how this could be allowed, especially as we aren’t even gaining any affordable housing from it.”