Pilot Urban Room being opened in Kingston’s Market Place from 26th January to 22nd February 2023

The Society, together with the Council and other community groups*, are running a pilot urban room, “Open Frame”, in the Old Market House, Ancient Market Place, Kingston KT1 1JS.

One aspect of this pilot, located on the ground floor of the Market House, is to be part of the public consultation exercise for the Draft Local Plan. This will be staffed by members of the Council’s Planning and Place-making teams every Thursday 10pm-4pm (or drop-in on other days to see what’s happening.) Please do pop in and ask all your questions about the Draft Local Plan to Planners and Council officers directly.

The other aspect of the pilot Urban Room is to find out how a permanent Kingston Urban Room might benefit the Borough. This is where our focus is and we work very hard to ensure we all learn from this pilot study. We all know the Royal Borough of Kingston is facing unprecedented development pressures including Mayor of London Housing Targets– 964 homes a year, Opportunity Area Status, New planning measures, Design Codes, Impact of Covid and Environment Act 2021 as well as Emergency and Biodiversity measures (and more). At the moment there is nowhere that presents development proposals or a strategic overview and communicates these to the public. We know the urban room is a neutral forum where residents can explore their neighbourhoods and find out why they are the way they are.

To debate some of these issues, The Kingston Society, together with the umbrella community group*, is organising a programme of events in the Pilot Urban Room on FOUR WEDNESDAYS IN FEBRUARY. We want this to be a place where we can engage with Planners directly and communicate our concerns. Please join us, help us & tell others:

WEDNESDAY DEBATES**: (They are all free to join and registration is recommended. You can register using the Council’s eventbrite links below. However events will be independent and we will encourage full discussion of the issues under debate.)

1st February HERITAGE by Rebecca Eng REGISTER HERE:
8th February HOUSING by Duncan Bowie REGISTER HERE
15th February DESIGN by Tony Lancaster
22nd February SUSTAINABILITY “Panel Discussion” Chaired by Liz Meerebeau REGISTER HERE

Talks will start 13:00 but you are welcome to arrive from 12:30 onwards. All speeches will be followed by discussion.


Wednesday 1st February, 12:30-2, Design & Heritage

Rebecca Eng, Heritage & Conservation Lead for the Council, has agreed to speak about the new draft policies, and Thomas Sild from the policy side will accompany her. If you have any questions, concerns, recommendations in relation to the HERITAGE aspects of Draft Local Plan, note the date and do join us!

Wednesday 8th of February, 12:30-2pm Housing

Duncan Bowie, will be talking about Housing. He is senior lecturer in spatial planning at the University of Westminster and a visiting lecturer at the Bartlett School of Planning. He is also the author of a number of studies including, People, Planning and Homes in a World City Housing and the credit crunch: The Government and property market failure and The Politics of Development in an Age of Austerity. Mr Bowie worked in housing and planning policy, investment and research roles for the Mayor of London, the Association of London Government, the Housing Corporation, the LDDC and the London boroughs of Newham and Lambeth. He has a keen focus on affordable/not so affordable Housing. The one not to be missed!

Wednesday 15th February 12:30-2pm Design and Beauty

Kingston Society Chair, Tony Lancaster will update us on the “Living with Beauty” report and the National Model Design Code (NMDC). In January 2021, the government proposed to test the application of the NMDC – advice to local planning authorities on the process for producing codes, the design parameters and issues that need to be considered and tailored to their own context. It includes methods to capture and reflect the views of the local community throughout the process. Come to this session if you want to find out where we are at with the Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission and “Living with beauty” reports here in our borough.

Wednesday 22nd February 12:30-2pm “Panel Discussion of Local Plan”

Chaired by Liz Meerebeau from New Malden Residents’ Association, guest speakers will discuss sustainable aspects of Local Plan and issues which may be affected by the New Local Plan.

*Our umbrella community group consists of Kingston upon Thames Society, North Kingston Forum, Chessington District Residents’ Association, and New Malden Residents’ Association. We are also thankful to Kingston University School of Architecture for their immense support. Aoife Donnelly, architect and senior lecturer, has led a fascinating vertical project with students to design the fittings and branding for Open Frame. So we are also benefiting from the University’s involvement.

**We ask for your understanding that there may be changes at short notice to above programme. Please do come and support us nevertheless!

Download our Manifesto and info sheet here: KUR_Info.
Briefing paper: An Urban Room for Kingston upon Thames?

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Last Updated on February 6, 2023 by Kingston Society