New council homes plan announced for Kingston

Kingston Council (RBK) have announced plans to build over 100 new council homes in the borough after securing funding from the Greater London Authority.

With the council website currently undergoing an overhaul, the news was announced in a seven-tweet thread on micro-blogging site Twitter.

The council said it was able to reveal the plans after its application for financial support was approved by the GLA and Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London, to the tune of £9.5 million.

Announcing the news, a spokesperson for RBK said that “over 100” new council homes would be built, including for those residents and families currently staying in temporary accommodation.

“The council has secured £9.5m in funding from the GLA to support this scheme which will provide new build housing for over 100 households who are in housing need and on the council’s Housing Register, including those currently living in temporary accommodation.

“100 per cent of homes will be low-cost rent for Kingston residents and the schemes are designed to be highly energy efficient with significant reductions in CO2 emissions and other environmental features including Solar Panels and charging points for electric cars,” the spokesperson said.

RBK said that “approval” was given for the first batch of 61 houses in two schemes, “providing a total of 60 homes for residents and a further 41 homes on two sites will be considered at the council’s Development Control Committee” that is scheduled for tonight (Wednesday, December 7) at 7.30pm.

Without a fully-functioning website, further details about the houses were not immediately obvious from RBK’s announcement.

Surrey Comet: Screenshot of planning documents submitted for the 20/02216/FUL planning application via RBKScreenshot of planning documents submitted for the 20/02216/FUL planning application via RBK

However, in the agenda of tonight’s Development Control Committee is a proposal to consider two planning applications, namely: ’20/02213/FUL – Roupell House, Florence Road and Land To The Rear Of 37-40 York Road, Kingston Upon Thames KT2 6JS,’ and ’20/02216/FUL – Land To Rear Of 204-210C Cambridge Road, Kingston Upon Thames, KT1 3LU.’

The full planning application and supported documents are availble on RBK’s planning website here

They include proposals for the “partial demolition of the existing Roupell House building and erection of a part 3-storey, part 4-storey building comprising 23 residential units with associated landscaping, refuse and cycle storage…” 

The Roupell House site has been mooted as a potential location for new housing development, with some residents voicing their opposition to plans to build there in the form of a petition already signed by hundreds of backers.

Others meanwhile criticised the council’s labelling of the current proposals as “council” homes at all, suggesting that “short hold tenancies” would have been more appropriate. 

Yet like council’s across the UK, RBK face enormous pressure to build new social housing in their borough to meet the demands of both their targets from central government and the more general, urgent need for affordable housing that exists in London and across the UK.

The lack of affordable housing was found to impact some 8.4 million UK residents in a report published last year.

Evictions and homelessness are also on the rise in the UK, with thousands of people having been made homeless in during 2020 alone amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

“We’re delivering on our manifesto commitment to build more council housing,” Cllr Emily Davey, portfolio holder for housing and public health at RBK, said.

“Ensuring we provide good quality, affordable housing for our residents is of the utmost importance. I’m delighted we’re able to build the first council homes for the borough in over 30 years…

“These schemes are very exciting, they will be energy efficient and will improve greening and biodiversity wherever possible, and all at low-cost rents.

“I welcome this programme, it will improve housing in Kingston and provide family homes for those in most need,” she added.

To watch tonight’s council meeting where the plans will be reviewed and view its agenda, click here.

Surrey Comet | Kingston