Some members of KS committee and residents from surrounding neighbourhood visited Surrey County Hall for a meeting with Rolfe Judd (architects), RER (developer) and BECG (PR) on 3rd June 2021.
The walkthrough included the staff canteen on the modern block on Penrhyn road, the office space on the ground floor of County Hall and the listed sections of the buildings, courtyard, courthouse, chamber rooms, and prison cells. It was an interesting visit but we learned nothing new other than the developer’s intention to keep the larger elements of the historic building as they are but with no clear plans as to future function. Kingston University was vaguely mentioned but again with no clear confirmation of future relationship. The proposed ‘Pavilions’ facing Milner Road were mentioned but no set purpose for the tennis courts. We were told the highest point of the development will not be ‘that much taller than’ Kingston University’s Town House across the road but our view is that is not the datum line that drives the height restriction: that is set from the Bittoms Car Park and would mean a building height substantially lower than the Town House.
The real issue is that this building is not zoned for residential use and the owners need to convince the council that they have sought appropriate purchasers. Of major concern to locals in Woodbines Avenue and Milner Road is that the developers seek to build tall and highly massed residential units as close to the boundary walls creating a very unpleasant view for existing residents.
Public Consultation may happen in July. Another major project to watch.