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BREAKING: Tomorrow’s DC meeting cancelled as St George ask for TOPO development application to be deferred

James Giles

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Following Leader of Kingston Council, Cllr Kevin Davis, earlier today writing about why he feels the Old Post Office development should be rejected, developers St. George have this afternoon requested that their development planning application be withdrawn from the Development Planning Committee agenda, tomorrow evening, in order to allow them to ‘reconsider their position.’  The chair of the committee has agreed to this request.

St George have, however, not withdrawn the entire planning application, but merely delayed the process by deferring the application to a committee on a later date.

Liz Green tweeted earlier today:

Kingston Residents Alliance are continuing to crowdfund for a legal review of the development, which residents can donate to here: http://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/KingstonResidents/

Cllr Kevin Davis said:

“Since the redesign I have kept my views quiet and listened very hard to what others had to say – something I promised I would… I have even listened to the conspiracy theorists who always think the worst of people such as me who are merely trying to bring change, growth and homes to a town I love dearly and want to see change… The conclusion I have come to is that in policy terms it is very difficult to turn this building down because on balance it conforms to so many things that we want locally or London expects of us regionally.

“For fear I might upset another part of London, it is the sort of thing they are building in Vauxhall where derelict brownfield sites give way to new communities. We have a community, we are not derelict and we need a gateway from the South that stirs the heart and makes us feel proud as we walk towards it.

“This building does not stir my heart and as a proud Kingstonian and Leader of this great Borough, this is why I believe the application should be rejected on the grounds of design quality, finishes and materials. This will send the clear signal to others who will build here that we want homes, we want you to build for us, but we want buildings fit for Kings, not be destroyed by Vikings.”

Tomorrow’s meeting of the Development Control Committee has been cancelled.

Coombe Monthly will continue to update residents on this story as it develops, and has contacted developers for a statement.

James Giles is the Editor of the Kingston Enquirer, covering local news and events in Kingston, New Malden, Surbiton, Tolworth and Chessington.

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Stop cuts to schools and special needs children

James Giles

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The Council last night (7th February) passed the ‘SEND Transformation Plan’, despite local residents making clear that they had not been properly consulted.

The plans, which include raiding a potential £5 million from the budgets of mainstream schools, were put out to consultation over the Christmas Holidays, which resulted in a response rate of less than 2% of those with special needs children.

SEND Family Voices, a group who until recently worked with the Council on special needs matters, have described the plans as ‘fantasy’, saying: “The risk of legal challenge is now high; the risk of Tribunal rates going through the roof is also now extremely high. The Plan is unachievable & the savings suggested are completely fabricated.”

If 100 residents sign the ‘call in’ below, the decision is sent to Scrutiny Panel for an investigation.

Please sign to ensure that our schools and special needs children get the education they deserve. We demand better for SEND children.

CALL IN: SEND TRANSFORMATION

We, the undersigned, call in all recommendations from the 'SEND Transformation Plan' from the Childrens and Adults Care and Education Committee for review at Scrutiny Panel for the following reasons:

- Councillors were misled by officers who presented the item, who claimed the consultation was sent to all SEND parents, school governors, publicised on the website and via social media, which is gross distortion of the facts.
- The consultation was not published on Kingston Council's consultation portal until 3rd January, leaving less than three weeks for the public to reply through this forum.
- The 'easy read' consultation was not published until after most schools had broken up.
- The consultation did not meet government guidelines on good consultation.
- Out of Borough schools which have Kingston SEND pupils attending were not consulted on the proposals
- SEND partners and parents were not consulted before the plan was published
- The consultation only had 96 responses. There are 4,000+ CYP with SEND in Kingston - at best, the response rate was 2% and in reality, lower, which suggests there was a major flaw with the way in which consultation was carried out, leaving the Council open to legal challenge.
- The committee wilfully held the authority's constitution in contempt by agreeing to the sending the Written Statement of Action to Ofsted a mere two working days after the committee, despite the constitution being incredibly clear that a decision cannot be fully implemented until expiration of a call-in period.
- The risk of legal challenge is now high; the risk of Tribunal rates going through the roof is also now extremely high.
- The Plan is unachievable & the savings suggested are completely fabricated.

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