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Growth, Development and Affordable Housing on agenda at next Neighbourhood Conversations

James Giles

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Following Surbiton and South of the Borough’s neighbourhood conversations, the series of four topical forums conclude next Wednesday (25th November) in Kingston and New Malden, with the topics of growth and development and affordable housing on the agenda.

The forums have been introduced as part of the Council’s reforms to the traditional Neighbourhood Committee meeting process. Along with five Neighbourhood Committees meetings where decisions will be made about local matters, there will be three Neighbourhood Conversation forums each year to get to the heart of local issues.

Councillor Kevin Davis, Leader of Kingston Council, said:

“Last year’s All in One borough wide survey, told us that only 25 per cent of the 10,000 people surveyed felt they could influence council decision making process, which is simply not good enough.

“This new style of Neighbourhood Conversation will become the place for residents to bring their concerns and ideas, be listened to and then see action taken.

“These conversations will be specifically themed about a local topic of concern or interest and will give residents the opportunity to work together with ward members, service partners and other people from the neighbourhood to tackle solutions at a local level.

“Sometimes we will not always be able to do what residents want but at least we will have listened and considered carefully what local people want.”

Details of the meetings are as follows:

Growth and development in Maldens and Coombe

  • Wednesday 25 November, 7.30pm
  • Chair – Councillor Ken Smith
  • Burlington Junior School, Burlington Road, New Malden KT3 4LT

Affordable housing in Kingston Town

  • Thursday 26 November, 7.30pm
  • Chair – Councillor Hugh Scantlebury
  • Council Chamber, Guildhall, Kingston KT1 1EU

Kingston Town

Lib Dems in CHAOS after 2000 sign petition on parking charges… but refuse to back down

James Giles

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Kingston Lib Dems are in chaos after refusing to back down on controversial changes to parking permits in the borough, instead announcing an amended scheme which has been blasted by residents as ‘hap-dash and ill-thought-out’.

The proposals would have resulted in a 350% hike in the cost of a parking permit for some residents in the borough, whilst newly purchased Teslas would get to park for free.

Instead, amended proposals announced today mean that cars will, this year, face a cost of up to £245, up from the current £90, but down from the proposed £465.

In a press release explaining the rationale for the latest amendment, Councillor Hilary Gander said: “I believe that differential parking is one measure that will go towards achieving [cleaner air in Kingston].

“It seems, however, we may have moved too fast and not fully explained our approach.”

The ruling Lib Dem administration has, refused to rule out increasing the charges again next year, and have not announced how they are plugging the £525,000 gap this will leave in their budget for this financial year.

New Malden resident Angie, who lives in Queens Road, said: “It’s clear to me from what the Lib Dems have written that they fully intend to increase permit costs again next year – it’s not a case of ‘moving too fast’, it’s a case of these charges being discriminatory and unfair.

“How on earth can the Council practically halve these figures on a whim. It just proves that this is not really about tackling the issue of air quality, it’s about making a quick buck.”

Campaigners who set up a group to attempt to halt these proposals say that this latest amendment will not reduce local opposition to the plans, and are urging residents affected to attend Full Council at the Guildhall next Wednesday, starting at 7:30pm, where they have forced the Council to debate the issue by raising a community motion.

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