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Kingston Residents Alliance launch crowdfunding campaign to ‘Say NO!’ to TOPO and force legal review

James Giles

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UPDATE: £3500 has been raised in less than five days, and the group have set a ‘stretch target’ of £6000, to better the campaign. The more money raised, the more resources can be used!

Following Kingston Council’s Head of Planning recommending approval earlier this week of proposals to develop on the site of the Old Post Office, the Kingston Residents Alliance have hired a barrister for legal review over St. George’s plans.

In order to fund the legal costs, the Residents Alliance have turned to the residents of Kingston, in a bid to source £3500 through crowdfunding.

Speaking to Coombe Monthly, the residents leading the crowdfunding initiative said:

In less than a week on the 23rd of June the proposals will go before the planning committee for decision.

We have already approached the Council democratically, meeting with councillors and developers over the past few months. Despite our best efforts they have seemingly dismissed our concerns, and we now have little time to make a difference. We hope that our legal counsel will put additional pressure on the Council to reconsider the planning application, advocate on behalf of residents to ensure that our views are heard, and highlight policy contraventions to hold the Council accountable.

£3,000 of our campaign will go toward legal fees. We have hired a barrister (Queen’s Counsel) with experience in advocacy and advice for planning and development proposals. An additional £500 is needed for printing and media costs to get the word out to the community.

Kingston Residents Alliance are urging residents to donate, which in the last three days alone has raised near £2,500 of their £3,500 target. They also urge residents to come to the Development Committee on Tuesday 23rd June, at which Coombe Monthly will be live blogging from the committee room.

You can donate by visiting: http://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/kingstonresidents

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

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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