Local campaigners urge Council to review viability of town centre developments

In light of John Lewis Partnership’s 99% drop in profit warning, local campaigners are urging the Council to conduct an urgent review into the viability of growth and redevelopment in the town centre.

CEO of Kingston Council, Roy Thompson, said on June 7th that developers at Eden Walk were “not making any money” and there was risk they could walk away.

Bob Tyler, campaigner in Grove Ward, said: “We demand that Kingston Council conduct an immediate review into redevelopment of the town centre, in particular of the viability of the Eden Walk development.

“I urge all concerned residents to sign my petition below to ensure the Council is aware of the pressures facing business, and the knock-on effect this could have on developments in the town centre.”

Review viability of town centre developments:

  

We the undersigned demand that Kingston Council, particularly in the light of the John Lewis Partnership's 'no profits' announcement, conduct an immediate review of business and regeneration in the town centre, particularly of the viability of the Eden Walk development, moreso as Council CEO Roy Thompson, at a scrutiny meeting on June 7th, said the developers of Eden Walk needed to start the development quickly as they were “not making any money” and could walk away.

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Waitrose reinstate 2 hours free parking following campaign

Your Kingston Independent Residents Group team in Beverley have secured the reinstatement of 2 hours free parking at the Waitrose Car Park in New Malden. This is a victory for New Malden residents and businesses in the High Street, and we would like to thank everyone for their support.

Local resident James Giles with the new signage in Waitrose, reintroducing a 2 hour maximum stay

Waitrose recently changed the maximum stay from 2 hours to 90 minutes, and increased the penalty from £25 to £95. The car park is subject to a number of legal agreements with the Council and Waitrose did not have permission to reduce the maximum stay.

Following our campaign and intervention in Beverley Ward, Waitrose have now reinstated a maximum stay of 2 hours. Further, users of the car park are no longer required to spend £10 in Waitrose, which could boost trade for independent businesses in the High Street.

The one remaining area of concern is the £95 penalty charge, which we are asking to be reduced back to £25, to give shoppers peace of mind when using the car park.

KIRG Group Leader and member of the Beverley Independent team, Mary Clark, said:

“These changes would have impacted on shoppers who use the car park for both Waitrose and our independent businesses on the High Street. They were introduced with no consultation with residents or even the council. I’m very pleased that Waitrose has made the right choice in reinstating the longstanding parking arrangements, which date back before 2003.”

Local resident James Giles said:

“This is fantastic news. We would like to thank Waitrose for their co-operation in the matter, and their commitment to the community in New Malden.”

 

Final call for candidates to step forward to clean up Kingston in 2018 elections

The Kingston Independent Residents Group (KIRG), the local party for Kingston residents, has moved forward its campaign for better local government by asking residents from across the borough to step forward and join its team of candidates for its 2018 election bid.

Residents saw their first independent council seat in 2015 – Mary Clark in Old Malden Ward. The May 2018 local elections will see new councillors elected from every ward across Kingston.

Mary Clark, group leader of KIRG said:

“The current Tory controlled council have failed the residents of Kingston. For 4 years they’ve incompetently forced national party policies on our borough. These have traded our long-term legacy and quality of life for short-term cash grabbing and self-serving politics. Residents from across the borough have told us they want far higher standards and effective accountability from borough leaders. It’s time for a wholesale change. We desperately need a Council that will work competently and responsibly for the residents of Kingston.”

Patrick Wylde of the Kingston Independent Residents Group said:

“The national political party whip has been running roughshod over the wishes of residents for too long – and every community in Kingston is affected. The only way that locals can decide for themselves is to elect independent councillors in 2018 to be the voice that holds the Council to account. We’re calling on residents from across the borough to join our growing team of residents’ independent candidates for Kingston 2018.”

 

To find out more about becoming an R4U candidate, volunteer or supporter please call 020 8050 5096 or e-mail admin@kingstonindependents.org.uk

Beverley residents call upon Waitrose to reintroduce 2 hours free parking

Your Kingston Independent Residents Group team in Beverley are campaigning to restore 2 hour free parking in the Waitrose Car Park in New Malden.

 Waitrose recently changed the maximum stay from 2 hours to 90 minutes, and increased the penalty from £25 to £95. The car park is subject to a number of legal agreements with the Council and Waitrose do not have permission to reduce the maximum stay.

Cllr Mary Clark, group leader and Beverley lead, said: “These changes will impact on shoppers who use the car park for both Waitrose and our independent businesses on the High Street. They were introduced with no consultation with residents or even the council.

Many, including the disabled, will be deterred from parking here at a risk of a new massive £95 penalty, should they overstay in any form. A large number of residents have been in touch to make us aware of these changes which will damage the local economy.”

Your Independent Residents Group in Beverley has written to the Council Enforcement about this matter.

If you support our campaign and want to see 2 hour free parking reinstated, sign below and add pressure to the Council and Waitrose:

Waitrose: Reinstate 2 hr free parking and £25 penalty charge

  

We, the undersigned, call upon the John Lewis Partnership to immediately reinstate 2 hours free parking at their branch in New Malden and the £25 parking charge.

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Coombe Hill resident to take on sitting Tory councillor ‘parachuted in to a safe seat’ in May election

The Kingston Independent Residents Group (KIRG), the local party of residents, has announced that Coombe Hill resident of 20 years and mother of 3, Helen Hinton, has resigned from the Conservative Party and will be standing as a candidate in Coombe Hill.

Her resignation comes following the decision to select existing Tory Councillor, Ian George, to stand in Coombe Hill, despite being an elected representative for Alexandra Ward in Surbiton.

Helen Hinton, the KIRG prospective ward candidate, said: “Existing Surbiton councillor Ian George became unelectable in his Alexandra ward after overseeing the building of hundreds of homes in Tolworth against the residents‘ wishes; so now he has been parachuted into a safe seat, forcing out a local candidate.

Residents don’t want their town damaged by unsustainable development or a party-poltical refugee; they want a councillor who will actually represent them. We must ensure residents, not politicians, represent Coombe Hill, which is why I am delighted to be standing for the Kingston Independent Residents Group.”

 

KIRG party leader Cllr Mary Clark said: “We are delighted to have Helen representing residents in Coombe Hill, and I have no doubt that, if elected, Helen will work tirelessly on behalf of her neighbours. It is about time that someone represented the interest of interests rather than those of national parties, and Helen, with her proven track record, will do just that.”

Last year, Helen Hinton called in the controversial Surbiton Crescent decision to Full Council, with the support of hundreds of residents in Coombe and across the borough. To date, the controversial scheme has made some £4.5 million in fines.

Extraordinary meeting of Health Scrutiny Panel called to scrutinise hospital decision on blue badge parking

With the support of hundreds of local residents, the Kingston Independent Residents Group has been putting heavy pressure on Kingston Hospital to reverse their damaging decision to introduce parking charges for blue badge holders at Kingston Hospital.

Led by Councillor Mary Clark, a cross-party letter has requisitioned an extraordinary meeting of the Health Scrutiny Panel, with representatives from the Hospital being called to the meeting, in order to scrutinise the decision and for residents to have their voice heard. The meeting will be at the Guildhall in Kingston, 7:30pm start, on Wednesday 21st February.

 

Mary Clark, the KIRG group leader stated: “These charges are a disgrace, and must be reversed. We will end up with gridlock on Galsworthy Road where blue badge holders will legally park on the double yellow lines, and a situation where those who desperately need to go into hospital may not for fear of cost.

I urge all residents to attend the extraordinary meeting of the Health Scrutiny Panel this Wednesday, at Guildhall, to make their voices heard to Kingston Hospital and join us in our call to reverse this decision. ”

A letter was sent to Kingston Council demanding an extraordinary meeting of the Health Scrutiny Panel, under Standing Order 24, and was signed by Councillors Mary Clark, David Fraser and Sheila Griffin in their capacity as members of the Health Scrutiny Panel.

The Kingston Independent Residents Group will be holding a demonstration on the steps of Guildhall from 7pm on Wednesday 21st February, before the meeting begins at 7:30pm.

Can you join us and make sure that the voice of vulnerable residents in Kingston are heard?

Press Release: Call for candidates to step forward to clean up Kingston in 2018 elections

Wednesday 21st January 2018: the Kingston Independent Residents Group (KIRG) has moved forward its campaign for better local government by asking residents from across the borough of Kingston to step forward and join its team of candidates for its 2018 council election bid. The May 2018 borough elections will see new councillors elected from every ward across Kingston.

Mary Clark, group leader of KIRG, said:

“The current Tory controlled council have failed the residents of Kingston. For 4 years they’ve incompetently forced national party policies on our borough. These have traded our long-term legacy and quality of life for short-term self-serving politics. Residents from across the borough have told us they want proper planning, far higher standards and effective accountability from council leaders. It’s time for a wholesale change. We desperately need a Council that will work competently and responsibly for the residents of Kingston.”

Patrick Wylde said:

“The national political party whip has been running roughshod over the wishes of residents for too long – and every community in Kingston is affected. The only way that locals can decide for themselves is to elect independent councillors in 2018. We’re working with other residents’ groups and calling on residents from across the borough to join our growing team of residents’ independent candidates for Kingston 2018. We encourage those who love where they live to step forward and join us.”

To find out more about becoming a KIRG candidate, volunteer or supporter please contact us on admin@kingstonindependents.org.uk or call 020 8050 5096.

Kingston residents form political party and launch campaign for 2018 local election

Monday 8th January 2018, Kingston upon Thames: Kingston residents have announced that they have formed their own independent political party, the Kingston Independent Residents Group (KIRG), and will be standing candidates across the borough in their Council elections in May 2018. They have also announced their first 4 prospective council election candidates and launched their new website at www.kingstonindependents.org.uk .

Mary Clark, the KIRG group leader and existing Kingston Councillor stated:

“Today marks a turning point in the political landscape at Guildhall. Residents who have, for many years, been fed false promises by the national parties just to secure their vote now have an alternative voice, that will fight for them at Kingston Council.

“Residents don’t want national parties telling them what’s good for them locally – they want to decide for themselves. We’ll unveil our detailed policies nearer the election, but have no doubt about it, our plans are big, bold and are all about residents getting their voices back and deciding for themselves.”

Along with Kingston Councillor Mary Clark, the initial group of prospective candidates includes business owner and Berrylands resident, Oliver Eakin; development campaigner and Coombe Vale resident, Patrick Wylde. To complete the first announced prospective candidates, the residents’ party has also announced that current and long-standing Councillor for Old Malden, David Fraser, will be standing for KIRG in May.

Small business owner and Berrylands resident, Oliver Eakin, added:

“It is critical that residents from all backgrounds have a voice. That means we want both fresh faces and those with seasoned political experience, to help drive a broad set of policies focussed on things that matter to people – the local economy, quality-of-life, fiscal responsibility, and a proper long-term vision. We’ve got working mums, existing politicians, successful small business owners and everything in between.

“Residents have become increasingly fed up at being let down by the current Council on a whole range of issues. We’ve seen a steady stream of people sticking their hands up to become candidates in the run up to this launch. We’ve still got space for more. If you love where you live and want to make a difference for the residents of Kingston, drop us a line through our website – we want to hear from you.”

Open letter to Kevin Davis on Cocks Crescent SPD

Dear Councillor Davis,

I write following your comments in the Surrey Comet regarding recent protests against the proposed Cocks Crescent SPD. I really do not think that it can be said that residents are playing ‘childish games’, when they have great concern, with regard to the overdevelopment which could very well take place in the centre of New Malden.

The potential of the build of up to 520 flats in Cocks Crescent is in itself a cause for concern, when there is no infrastructure to support the development. Further, the proposed build of a further 290 flats, from the former Shell Garage to the Multi-storey car park, (Shell Garage: 21 units/5-29 Coombe Rd: 85 units/Malden House: 93 units/Multi-storey car park: 91 units) plus the CNM’s proposal to build up to 100 units on St Georges Square – 910 flats would, naturally, be considered, by New Malden residents, as considerable overdevelopment in such a small town centre.

The residents who are concerned are the ‘sensible’ people, as they know that New Malden is far too small to sustain this volume of development.

Also, the whole purpose for the original build of the Cocks Crescent site was to accommodate Community facilities – never for residential build, hence the build of the Malden Centre, swimming pool, Crescent Resource Centre for the Physically Disabled, the Causeway Resource Centre for Learning Disabilities, Womens’ Voluntary Service, Adult Education, Malden Emergency First Aid Society and Citizens Advice Bureau.

Even without the Cocks Crescent development, New Malden High Street may well turn into a ‘builders yard’, within the coming months, as several contractors trundle up and down for months with bricks and mortar to the various development sites – our shops will loose trade, which they are already struggling to maintain.

Flats as high as 10 storeys on such a small site as Cocks Crescent will, without doubt, overshadow the nearby houses in Blagdon Road. The centre of New Malden is being unnecessarily targeted by developers building flats for market value – average price for a STUDIO flat on the Multi-storey car park development is a minimum of£250,000 (documented by the developer)!

New Malden cannot sustain close on 1000 new flats-and it is just not fair on the local residents who are already having to wait for 2/3 weeks for a GP appointment, or obtain a place for their child in a local school.

I have lived in New Malden since 1939 and it is, without doubt, the worse thing that could ever happen to this small town. Trust me – you don’t live here. You may just as well go skywards, and drop a mega bucket of cement over the Centre of New Malden so it becomes just another “concrete jungle”.

Councillor Mary Clark, Old Malden Ward