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TOPO (The Old Post Office)

RBK Development Control Committee - 25th Feb 2016

Report by Di Watling

The committee met to make it's final determination on The Old Post Office site and voted 6 to 5 to grant planning permission for the redevelopment of the site.

The Guildhall was packed as usual. Plenty of speakers were there to object to the proposed development based on height, massing and impact on the two listed buildings on the site. At the final count, 230 letters of objection were received and 40 letters of support. Three Grove Ward councillors, Kingston upon Thames society and Kingston Residents Alliance all spoke in opposition.

This was the development's fourth iteration, an earlier refusal being based on the fact that there were only 12% 3-bedroom units planned for this site, far below the councils guidelines. The developer asserts that to increase above this level would be financially unviable because they are too slow to sell. Quizzing of the planning officers and the representative from BNP Paribas (which advises the council on viability assessments) regarding these figures, revealed that the advice given by the planning officers on 3-bed units was based on unsound advice.

Nethertheless, the development was approved.



The latest submission (4th) of The Old Post Office saga has just been released. The current closing date for comments is 4th Feb 2016.

The last Development Control Committee of 5th Nov 2015 rejected the proposal on the following grounds:

1) The proposed 12 storey element of the scheme located between the two on-site Grade II Listed Buildings would cause harm to the setting of the former Exchange Listed Building due to its height, incongruous and unsympathetic form and design in this sensitive location.

2) The proposed development does not provide a minimum of 30% of dwellings as 3 or more bedroom units and would not therefore provide an acceptable dwelling mix for the development.

3) The proposed 16 storey element of the scheme would not relate well to the form, proportion, composition, scale and character of surrounding buildings.

The revised submission tries to address these rejection points which can be viewed here:

If you commented on the previous submissions, this will not be taken into consideration with the current submission, and it is therefore crucial that you consider re-submitting any comments you may have after viewing the revision which can be found here:

Last week, the council approved a huge high rise development in Tolworth, and the above two proposals are only the start of the Council's plans to develop Kingston as an Opportunity Area for mass development. This proposed Opportunity Area also includes parts of Canbury Ward.

Given Zac Goldsmith is standing for Mayor of London, we stand a better chance of getting him in particular to listen to us now than we have ever before, so please consider expressing your views to him at: