NK1-NK8 Design policies
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Policy NK1: Intensification Zone
The Neighbourhood Plan defines an Intensification Zone within the designated Neighbourhood Area, as shown on the Policies Map.
Land inside the “Intensification Zone” is considered suitable for higher density, mixed use development. Buildings within the Intensification Zone will be expected to be constrained generally to 6 storeys, or the equivalent, and exceptionally may rise to a maximum of 12 storeys, unless otherwise constrained (listed buildings for example) or as indicated otherwise in a site-specific policy in the Neighbourhood Plan, to achieve a specific benefit such as an important public amenity and a satisfactory architectural solution to the particular constraints of the site including the protection of strategic and local view corridors (see Plan K), daylighting and sun lighting, privacy and overlooking.
5.10 The Intensification Zone forms the southernmost part of the area which is mostly covered by the North Kingston Development Brief, adopted October 2016 and is within 400m distance of Kingston Station. The Development Brief establishes a set of principles how the sites within the development area and the adjoining Richmond Road should be developed to complement the vision for North Kingston. Development form, height and massing will need to take into account not only the impact of surrounding areas and existing townscape but will also need to be considered closely alongside the spaces they frame.
5.11 Building heights must respect the local context and not adversely impact on the amenity of neighbouring properties or spaces. This is especially the case with regard to locally listed and statutory listed buildings, where enhancements of the Richmond Road frontage will successfully incorporate the existing Locally Listed Building at Kingston College and the Listed Former Gala Bingo building.
Policy NK2: transition zone – suburban area
The Neighbourhood Plan defines a Transition Zone between the Intensification Zone and the Suburban Area of North Kingston, as shown on the Policies Map.
The boundary of the Transition Zone has been drawn to include the majority of the council’s land ownership where future development is anticipated and to include existing commercial premises with potential for development to accommodate additional mixed-use schemes within the period of the Plan.
Development proposals in the Transition Zone may comprise schemes of higher densities than the remaining area of North Kingston and between 200-300 habitable rooms per hectare (200-300hr/ha) and buildings that are taller than is characteristic of Canbury and Tudor Wards, but generally lower than are considered suitable in the Intensification Zone. Development of 4 storeys or more may be acceptable subject to design of exceptional quality and townscape justification, accompanied by a comprehensive Visual Impact Study; however, the protection of the amenity of existing properties nearby will be paramount.
Development proposals in the Transition Zone must avoid harmful massing of new buildings that would adversely impact on the amenity of existing properties in terms of overlooking, noise, loss of daylighting, traffic generation and general security or would create a significant visual barrier between the town centre and the suburban areas of North Kingston. Views along streets within and on the edge of the Transition Zone should only be terminated by well-articulated building frontages and not unsightly rear servicing yards or car park areas.
Beyond that area the Transition Zone is defined to protect the existing residential character of the majority of North Kingston, the Suburban Area.
Developments of more than 3 storeys will not normally be considered acceptable in the Suburban Area and if proposed will need to demonstrate a particular public benefit or secure essential social infrastructure as well as architectural quality, together with townscape justification and no appreciable loss of amenity to neighbouring properties.
5.12 The London Plan identifies the Kingston Opportunity Area in its Policy SD1 as a way of focusing change in and around the Town Centre to deliver part of 9,000 homes and 5,000 jobs over the next decade. It is expected that parts of the Neighbourhood Area will lie within the Opportunity Area, the precise boundary of which will be defined by the new Local Plan, informed by the policies of the Neighbourhood Plan.
5.13 These policies are therefore intended to manage the relationship between the Town Centre area and the surrounding suburban areas of North Kingston so that the transition from the one to the other is not stark. It is necessary because it is anticipated that, with the steer of the London Plan, the new Local Plan will contain policies for the Opportunity Area that will lead to significant changes in established building heights and plot densities. Policy D9 of the London Plan already defines a minimum height of tall buildings as 6 storeys or 18 metres measured from ground to the floor level of the uppermost storey. Policy NK1 therefore defines tall buildings and the area, the Intensification Zone, where tall buildings may be more appropriate. Historic England’s Advice Note 4 on Tall Buildings should continue to be followed, which states; “if the building is not in the right place and well designed a tall building, by virtue of its size and widespread visibility, can also seriously harm the qualities that people value about a place.” The quality of the architectural design of any such proposed development will be paramount.
5.14 The surrounding suburban streets can accommodate some degree of change through intensification but not wholesale change, especially if they have been defined as Local Areas of Special Character in Policy NK7. There is the risk that the scale of harm to established local amenity, access to daylight and privacy may be significant and this must be managed carefully through the application of this policy. Policy NK2 therefore defines a Transition Zone. The density, height, scale, massing and layout of new development will normally reflect the context set by existing development in the immediate area of the site. Generally, densities outside of the Transition Zone, in the Suburban Area, should not exceed  habitable rooms per hectare, unless stated otherwise in other policies of the Neighbourhood Plan. Subject to the adoption of the Council’s Opportunity Area boundaries and the policies contained in the draft Local Plan housing densities there should not normally exceed  habitable rooms per hectare. Tall buildings as refined by Policy NK1 are not considered appropriate in the Transition Zone, unless indicated otherwise in other policies of the Neighbourhood Plan.
Policy NK3: key development Corridors
The Neighbourhood Plan defines the Park Road Corridor and Richmond Road Corridor as shown on the Policies Map.
Development proposals in the Corridors may contribute to an increase in density of up to 300 habitable rooms per hectare (300hr/ha) enabling a gradual development of its character, to enhance and sensitively respond to the existing character by being of high quality and respectful of the immediate surroundings. While new residential development is expected, particularly above the ground floor level, commercial development, including uses within Parts E as defined in the Use Classes Order 2020, will also be supported, subject to the protection of local amenity and road safety.
Specifically, development proposals may increase the predominant height of buildings by adding an additional storey taking the form of medium-rise blocks with associated amenity space or larger buildings with a continuous street frontage. A further additional storey may be considered in exceptional circumstances for designs of high townscape value and if specific additional public amenities are provided.
5.15 The London Plan encourages plans to realise the potential for new housing within and on the edges of town centres through mixed-use or residential development that makes best use of land, capitalising on the availability of services within walking and cycling distance, and their current and future accessibility by public transport (Policy SD6). The policy identifies two Corridors in North Kingston that are considered suitable and capable of increasing their capacity to accommodate new housing and other development in comparison to the surrounding suburban area. As such, the new Local Plan may seek to incorporate these areas into an extended Kingston Opportunity Area to relieve development pressure on more sensitive locations in the area, but these corridors remain inappropriate for the application of Policy D9 of the London Plan in the sense of confining the definition of a tall building to a minimum of 6 storeys.
5.16 The intensification of the Corridors are expected to enhance and sensitively respond to existing character, although this is less well defined for the Park Road Corridor than at Richmond Road.
5.17 Elements which contribute positively to the character of the Richmond Road Corridor is its mix of active ground floor uses for retail, pubs/cafes and local services, its heritage buildings, including a number of surviving traditional shop fronts. These characteristics should be preserved, and enhanced, and new development should be designed to respond positively towards them. It is also vital that the functional and visual relationship between the Corridor and its immediate suburban area is handled sensitively so that there is no significant loss of amenity for nearby residents. It should be acknowledged that in parts of the Corridor there are very consistent building heights which may not allow for upward extensions without harming their character.
5.18 In the Park Road Corridor there are a number of potential opportunity sites for redevelopment along the road, but all will require careful design to manage the effects of taller buildings on the amenity of the surrounding streets.
Policy NK4: Quality Design - Character and Context
New development will generally be expected to maintain the area’s essential character and be in scale with its surroundings.
The Design and Access Statement submitted in support of future planning applications for new development, should include an appraisal addressing; the design quality; scale and land-use; privacy and amenity; landscape and occupancy/density of the proposals.
Development proposals, where applicable, must have regard to the following design principles:
Loss of gaps between Buildings (‘terracing’) will normally be resisted - extensions between neighbouring properties should be sited back from the front façade and the side elevations of existing buildings will only be completely filled where terraced houses are common in the street scene of the location.
Distinctive roofscapes will normally be protected - loft conversions and similar alterations must respect the original profile of the roof, so that ‘piggy-back’ and similar extensions will be set well back from the front elevation. Hipped roofs will be retained unless adjoining properties have already been altered in which case symmetry must be sought.
The protection of front boundary enclosures - front garden walls and railings should normally be retained or rebuilt if already lost when further development is contemplated. New paving will be permeable. While appreciating the need to control on-street parking residents are reminded that planning permission is required under certain circumstances for the paving over of front gardens.
The selection of materials should reflect those that are common to the locality for buildings and boundary treatments, without necessarily replicating architectural style.
New detached, semi-detached and terrace houses will normally be dual aspect and include private garden space of no less that 90sqm, part of which may be used to contribute towards a communal amenity area for developments of 6 or more dwellings.
Apartments must provide private amenity space, either with balconies or with shared amenities, communal open space accessible to future residents
Public and private spaces must be clearly defined in their design, but space designated for communal use will be accessible to all residents of the scheme irrespective of the nature of the housing tenure.
With the exception of householder applications all planning applications for new development must be accompanied by an integrated landscaping strategy, including where appropriate the improvement of adjoining public areas such as street tree planting and re-paving.
Overlooking distances between opposing residential properties will not normally be less than 21m measured from window to window and not less than 30m between commercial and residential properties.
Subject to any other relevant policies elsewhere within the Neighbourhood Plan, the Borough’s Local Plan, the London Plan and the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), new development will generally be supported when it can be demonstrated that the existing context including, scale and land-use have been respected and that any resulting adverse environmental impacts will be fully mitigated.
Conversion of larger villas or family housing into apartments must provide adequate living spaces, at least equivalent to space standards expected in new build developments.
5.19 This policy establishes a series of important design principles applying to any development in North Kingston, in addition to any site-specific policy that may also apply. The principles reflect the success of development proposals of the past, which have culminated in the character of the area today. Applications for new buildings, including those within the Council’s proposed Opportunity Area, will need to demonstrate how the proposal acknowledges the local character of the area in which it is proposed, in line with the Mayor of London’s SPG Shaping Neighbourhoods: Character and Context.
5.20 The design quality of new development is paramount and major planning applications will be expected to be architect-designed and endorsed by the Design Council, Historic England or equivalent body. The Council’s Residential Design SPG identified a number of Key Local Design Issues arising from poorly designed residential development in the Borough all of which are appropriate in the North Kingston Neighbourhood and will be expected to be followed. Furthermore, the Neighbourhood Plan proposes specific policies applying to Householder Applications derived from that Guidance.
5.21 New development will generally be expected to acknowledge the prevailing design and local character of North Kingston’s built communities, its green spaces and network of highways and by-ways and respect the amenity of neighbouring properties, including daylighting/sunlighting and privacy.
5.22 Key development sites may exploit the diversity of the Neighbourhood within the constraints outlined in the relevant site-specific Policies. Where appropriate, reference to how a proposal addresses the character of an area will need to be addressed in the accompanying Design and Access Statement together with a Heritage Statement if appropriate. Such appraisals will be expected to be proportionate to the size and complexity of the proposed development.
5.23 The landscaping and public realm design and private amenity space of major new development is expected to be of the highest quality and accompanied by a landscaping strategy and management plan to ensure its future maintenance and where appropriate provide for the improvement of adjoining public areas such as street tree planting and re-paving. Where appropriate, such proposals should comply with the guidance of Natural England, the Environment Agency or equivalent advisory body.
5.24 The maintenance of existing and new green spaces, including landscapes accompanying new development, is crucial to the wellbeing and climate resilience of the neighbourhood and increasingly so as the population of North Kingston grows. New development in particular will be expected to put into action a maintenance programme agreed with the council as part of the planning permission to secure the landscaping/planted areas in perpetuity.
5.25 The Neighbourhood Forum supports the objectives of the Government’s “Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission” to promote and increase the use of high-quality design for new build homes and neighbourhoods.
Policy NK5: Sustainable Design Standards
New development will be expected to contribute to the sustainability of the Neighbourhood for the benefit of existing and future residents.
Proposals for development must be well designed, contribute to health and well-being and mitigate the effects of, and adapt to, climate change. Where appropriate, the design of proposals should be informed by the 10 characteristics of ‘well-designed places’ set out in the National Design Guide.
Proposals will be expected to make the fullest contribution to minimising carbon dioxide emissions in accordance with the energy hierarchy and make efficient use of natural resources (including water), by making the most of natural systems to reduce vulnerability to climate change impacts over the lifetime of the development. Mature, healthy trees should be retained wherever possible and integrated into the design of the new development.
Planning applications must demonstrate through a written statement how the delivery of sustainable design standards is integral to the development. As a minimum, development will be expected, subject to viability, to achieve the standards required by the National Model Design Code including space standards or any subsequent national requirements.
5.26 A written statement would include details on:
Air quality proposals for new development will be expected to follow the recommendations and actions arising from the “Citizens’ Assembly on Air Quality” as adopted by Kingston Council. Contractors will be expected to respect the requirements of the Considerate Contractors Scheme, and commit to best practice on noise, dust and other air pollution management during construction.
Energy efficiency and energy generation – proposals will promote housing developments that heat efficiently while reducing energy consumption and waste, including the wastefulness of light pollution, as well as reducing air pollution and CO2 emissions. New development should seek to comply with higher standards of energy efficiency than current Building Regulations (2017), regarding insulation; heat recovery; natural light and appropriate lighting where needed; efficient heating and water usage; clean, low- or no-emission, efficient heat and power systems and natural cooling systems.
Sustainable transport – new development shall embrace the Government’s guidance on “active travel” by encouraging clean and sustainable modes of transport and ensuring developments where appropriate are permeable and contribute to an improved network of accessible local pedestrian paths, with appropriate signage, including heritage interpretation information where appropriate, with links to cycling routes. Proposals should provide plentiful and secure cycle storage and with workplaces, showers and lockers, as appropriate. All commercial and educational developments shall be supported by a Travel Plan with provision for monitoring over the long term. The introduction of electric vehicle charging infrastructure to the area is welcomed as and when agreed by the local community and should embrace new and emerging technological innovation over and above the current charging bay propositions.
Flood risk – Proposals for new development (including householder applications) should ensure the safety of local homes, businesses and people by taking all reasonable steps to reduce flood risk. There shall be no net loss of drainage with the use of sustainable drainage systems (SuDS), green roofs and rain gardens, and/or storage and use of rainwater. Hard surfaces shall be permeable or well drained by SuDS and maintained in perpetuity. This requirement recognises that periods of flooding will become more frequent due to climate change as seen in July 2007 and most recently in August 2020 where significant surface water flooding was experienced at multiple locations in the Neighbourhood Area.
Green infrastructure and biodiversity – The protection of North Kingston’s natural features: parks, riverbank, allotments, gardens and trees, is a priority and new developments will be expected to contribute to local green infrastructure. Planning applications (not including householder applications) should normally include a Biodiversity Survey, identifying and quantifying ecological features, and take steps to conserve existing green spaces and natural features, habitats and biodiversity, or provide adequate mitigation. This will normally include the specification of wildlife-friendly indigenous plants that can also contribute to the absorption of toxic air pollution, particularly critical around schools and children’s play areas.
Natural assets - development will seek to capitalise on valuable natural assets and landscape features such as the Neighbourhood’s riverside or woodland settings. Redevelopment of a site will normally ensure that any mature trees are retained, or if removed, replaced on site, one for one, by trees of the same or similar species.
Residential development – proposals will be expected to contribute to meeting the housing needs of local residents, key workers and first-time purchasers living or working in the borough.
Commercial development – proposals should demonstrate how local employment will be encouraged and also support small businesses including local shops, as defined by the Neighbourhood Plan’s business policies.
The protection of local services - is a priority and major new development will be expected to provide support for community facilities such as schools, health facilities, and other social amenities, by way of mitigation, as appropriate and proportionate.
Accessible and Adaptable homes – our homes are currently designed with only the first user in mind, not the many households and individuals who will use it during its lifespan. Proposals for new development should therefore outline how they will achieve the highest standards attainable.
5.27 North Kingston has developed over nearly 200 years into a mature and attractive mainly residential enclave close to the town centre. The managed growth of the Neighbourhood over the plan period will require the observance of policies that ensure the area’s continued sustainability and shall not adversely impact on natural systems; our air quality or the biodiversity of our parks, gardens and waterways, a priority identified in the response to the initial Draft Neighbourhood Plan.
5.28 If North Kingston is to maintain its attractiveness for existing and future residents, which was a key concern of respondents to the consultations on the initial Draft Neighbourhood Plan, it is appropriate to expect that all applications for new buildings demonstrate how the proposal contributes to the sustainability of the area in which it is proposed.
5.29 Local planning authorities are bound by the legal duty set out in Section 19 of the 2004 Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act, as amended by the 2008 Planning Act, to ensure that taken as whole, planning policy contributes to the mitigation of, and adaptation to, climate change. This duty signals the priority to be given to climate change in plan-making. In discharging this duty, the Plan should be in ‘general conformity’ with paragraph 149 of the NPPF and ensure that policies and decisions are in line with the objectives and provisions of the Climate Change Act 2008 (Section 1) and support the National Adaptation Programme. For the sake of clarity, this means that both local plans and neighbour-hood plans should be able to demonstrate how their policies contribute to the requirements of the Climate Change Act.
5.30 To date, most Neighbourhood Plans have not included policy on climate change mitigation, and some that have tried have encountered difficulties in navigating the viability test and the perceived limitations on policy such as for energy efficiency and building fabric. The 2019 NPPF places increased reliance on neighbourhood plans to fill gaps that could be left by Local Plans that may have been adopted prior to the new NPPF or up-dated Planning Practice Guidance such as the new National Design Guide and forthcoming National Design Code. The purpose of this policy is therefore to alert applicants to these new requirements and to ensure that when published, the National Design Code, informs viability testing as required by Planning Practice Guidance (PPG) Paragraph: 001 Reference ID: 10-001-20190509.
5.31 The policy also responds to the recent signing into law of the legally binding national target of net zero carbon emissions by 2050 and the need to plan new development in ways to avoid vulnerability to climate change impacts in line with NPPF paragraph 150. These are issues which will become ever more prominent during the life of this Plan. In the context of Kingston Council’s Climate Emergency Declaration (2019) and ongoing consultations, revisions of building regulations and national, regional and local planning policies, the best, most sustainable of the policies to emerge shall be implemented and prioritised as part of the Neighbourhood Plan.
5.32 In the context of Kingston Council’s Climate Emergency Declaration (2019) and ongoing consultations, revisions of building regulations and national, regional and local planning policies, the best, most sustainable of the policies to emerge shall be implemented and prioritised as part of the Neighbourhood Plan.
5.33 In the context of sustainable transport, the Council’s recently updated Local Implementation Plan 3rd iteration outlines a number of schemes for implementation of which this policy seeks to align and supports. This includes:
i. A307 Richmond Road Corridor phase 2
ii. Kings Road Area
iii. Workplace Sustainable Transport
iv. Schools Sustainable Transport
5.34 Additionally, this policy seeks to ensure that flood mitigation measures are incorporated into the design of new development in those areas of critical risk as indicated in the Environment Agency Fluvial and surface water flood risk areas (see Plans D & E). The Acre Road area is of risk and currently designated within Critical Drainage Area CD008. The Borough may be exploring a Flood Alleviation Scheme for the Acre Road Area and will be updating their Flood Risk Management Strategy in due course.
5.35 Planning applications for new development (not including householder applications) should also be accompanied by an environmental assessment, proportionate in scale and scope to that of the proposal. Householder applications will nevertheless be expected to respect the importance of environmental sustainability as outlined in the above policies.
5.36 The sustainability of the Neighbourhood’s existing communities by looking after and improving our local environment and making North Kingston a healthier and more attractive place is paramount and has benefits for existing and future residents of North Kingston. These objectives were widely supported in the consultations on the initial Draft Neighbourhood Plan held locally in 2018 and 2019.
5.37 The Neighbourhood Forum supports the objectives of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals: SDG11 to make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable in transforming our world.
Policy NK6: Key Views
The Neighbourhood Plan identifies the following Key Views:
of St. Luke’s Church Spire from across the area;
of Richmond Park from Durlston Road, St. Alban’s Road and Latchmere Road in the vicinity of Richmond Road;
of the River Thames from Queens Road, the Hawker Centre and Canbury Gardens
Development in the foreground, and middle ground and background of a designated view should not be overly intrusive, unsightly or prominent to the detriment of the view.
5.38 The London Plan enables plans to identify important local views using the principles of the London View Management Framework for their designation and management (Policy HC3). In this regard, there are three views within North Kingston that special and worthy of management through planning decisions.
5.39 The spire of St. Luke’s Church on Burton Road is prominent in many views across the Canbury Ward. There are also glimpses of the edge of Richmond Park from streets in the area around its edge. And there are glimpse views of the Thames along the western edge of the area. (see Plan I)
5.40 Following the approach of the London Plan, the policy requires proposals that lie within such a view to have regard to the nature of the view and to demonstrate how they will avoid harming its character.
Policy NK7: Conservation areas and Local Areas of Special Character
The Neighbourhood Plan identifies areas of local architectural or historic interest as Local Areas of Special Character, as shown on the Policies Map.
The architectural, historic and other features of each Conservation Area & Local Area of Special Character and its setting that are essential to the significance of the Area are set out in Appendix B for the purpose of enabling a judgement to be made regarding the scale of any harm or loss and the significance of the Area.
Development proposals located within a Conservation Area or Local Area of Special Character (both existing and recommended new) or its setting should demonstrate how they have had specific regard to the development principles set out in Appendix B, where appropriate to their location.
5.41 The London Plan encourages Local and Neighbourhood Plans to demonstrate a clear understanding of the historic environment and the heritage values of sites or areas and their relationship with their surroundings (to utilise) the heritage significance of a site or area in the planning and design process (Policy HC1).
5.42 More than 80% of respondents to the consultation on the initial Draft Neighbourhood Plan carried out in 2019 agreed that more parts of North Kingston should be protected, many commenting “anything to enhance the residential/village atmosphere of the area”.
5.43 In addition to the four designated Conservation Areas in North Kingston there are five “Local Areas of Special Character” (LASC) designated in the development plan. As it is possible that the new Local Plan may not continue to save this type of designation, this policy identifies each LASC. The policy also identifies four additional LASC which, demonstrated in Appendix B, is worthy of designation. In Appendix B is set out a summary analysis of the essential features of each Area that define its character for the purpose of informing the design and determination of future planning applications in the Area.
5.44 The North Kingston Neighbourhood immediately adjoins the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames with the Grade 1 listed landscape of Richmond Park and two conservation areas close by: the Parkley’s Estate and Ham Common, each containing a number of listed buildings. The Grade II* listed landscape of Ham House is slightly further away as Bushy Park and Home Park to the west of the Neighbourhood on the Middlesex side of the river. In addition, a number of important heritage assets, including some like Richmond Park of national importance, are close by, which require protection from intrusive development, especially ill-considered tall buildings.
Policy NK8: Locally listed buildings
The Neighbourhood Plan identifies buildings and their curtilages of local architectural or heritage interest as Locally Listed Buildings, as listed in Appendix C.
The architectural or historic interest of each Locally Listed Building that is considered essential to its significance is set out in Appendix C for the purpose of enabling a judgement to be made regarding the scale of any harm or loss and the significance of the Building.
Development proposals affecting a Locally Listed Building should demonstrate how they have had specific regard to its significance.
5.45 Both national planning policy and the London Plan encourage the identification of local heritage assets, i.e. buildings and structures that have some local architectural and/or historical significance that may not warrant formal listing but stand out from the norm in a local area.
5.46 The Forum has surveyed and researched North Kingston to identify new buildings in addition to the minimally described existing list at the Borough level. This has resulted in the schedule in Appendix C, which includes a description of each new building and a justification for its inclusion based on current Borough guidelines. Importantly, it also identifies what type of development proposals may succeed in sustaining the significance of the asset and those that may result in a scale of harm that would be unjustified, as required by the PPG (§18A – 040).