5. VISION, OBJECTIVES & LAND USE POLICIES
The following is the Forum’s vision of where North Kingston will be in 2041
“North Kingston is a busy, thriving residential suburb of London. Our population has increased significantly over the last twenty years, but this has enabled many positive things to happen for the benefit of the local community and businesses. The way change has come about has been crucial to this success.
Almost all of the new homes built in that time have been in specific locations and not spread across our area. This has meant that, for the most part, its essential Victorian and Edwardian character has been conserved in terms of its housing stock and street scene. Our listed buildings have been protected, our conservation areas have remained relatively unchanged and our key open spaces continue to be valuable amenity and recreation assets for local people to enjoy. The spire of St. Luke’s re-mains the most visible feature from much of our area, with views to it having been protected.
The focus of change has been on the edges of our area with the town centre and railway stations and at other key locations. Many of the new residents live in apartments in those areas, some in stand-alone buildings, others above new retail and business units, and above new primary schools and new health and other community facilities. Although the buildings are taller than was traditional in our area, their careful design and location have meant that they have not dominated our skyline. And they have enabled us to increase the number of commercial and social uses, that have clustered together in local ‘commercial hubs’ to increase footfall and that are protected from changing use, so we don’t have to travel by car out of the area as often.
But in places like The Keep and St. George’s, and across many small infill sites that became available, the new homes are suited to young families and our local schools and early years facilities have been able to expand to provide enough places for them. We have invested in new cycle routes and facilities and made the key routes around the schools more pedestrian-friendly – our new community bus services have encouraged most parents to abandon the ‘school run’.
All of our new buildings have contributed to our green infrastructure, whether through their new garden areas, green roofs/walls and rainwater harvesting. In planning for new development, we have secured a number of new pocket parks that together with our existing green spaces and the Thames have helped lower the highest summer temperatures and provided local respite from our denser area. We still suffer from flood events, but the new developments have successfully managed surface water and have not made matters worse.
Looking back, it seems our careful planning of North Kingston has enabled us to become a leading example in London for how local communities can work with landowners and developers to manage change successfully.”
5.2 Respondents to the initial Draft Neighbourhood Plan carried out in 2019 overwhelmingly (91%) considered tight controls essential to protect North Kingston’s residential character therefore, the key objectives of the Neighbourhood Plan are:
To ensure North Kingston remains a desirable place to live by maintaining its essential suburban character and by successfully managing the transition between the growing town centre and the surrounding suburban area
To ensure the long-term socio-economic sustainability of North Kingston by protecting and improving its essential local retail, business and social facilities
To help North Kingston adapt to climate change, including by way of new buildings designed for climate resilience and by protecting its important green spaces from development, and to mitigate climate change by reducing carbon emissions locally and delivering a net biodiversity gain from new development
To help meet local housing needs by managing new housing development along two key transportation corridors and a small number of key sites.