Early plans to redevelop the former gas holders site in Kingston into 315 sustainable homes have gone on public display.
Residents got a look at Berkeley First’s initial ideas for the land at a public exhibition on Wednesday, held at Tiffin School in Queen Elizabeth Road.
The site is the key location in Kingston Council’s North Kingston Development Brief, which also includes the adjacent Canbury Place car park.
The council wants to regenerate the area into a mixed use residential and learning quarter with a new primary school.
But there was no room for a school in Berkeley’s plans for the gas holders, which showed a multi-storey residential development based around a private, central square.
A drawing of the square in the middle of the development
Two tower blocks – one 11-storey and one eight-storey – would be built on the corners of the development facing Sury Basin, with commercial space on the groundfloor.
One key feature is the inclusion of a linear park public green space connecting Sury Basin with Kingsgate Road – one of the plans outlined in the development brief.
Ciaran Little, investment manager at Berkeley First, said: “We’re trying to create a green neighbourhood for north Kingston.
“We really want to regenerate this important industrial site and deliver some homes and good quality public realm and open space.
“We want to really connect the town centre with this area of north Kingston, and Berkley have a history of doing this sort of thing really well.”
Feedback on the exhibition was mixed, with several people saying the two corner buildings were too tall given the recent Kingston Riverside development in Canbury Gardens towering overhead.
Carrie Segrave, who lives close to the site, said: “I think development is a good idea, but every scheme these days wants its statement building, which I feel will be overbearing.
“We’ve had quite enough statement buildings with Kingston Riverside.
“I like the Berkeley Group, I think they are good people with a good reputation, but I don’t like their tall buildings.”
Councillor Frank Thompson at the exhibition with his wife Dorothy
Tudor ward Councillor Frank Thompson said: “As a block of flats it’s just as nice looking as any other I suppose, but will any English families with moderate income be able to buy there?
“They have got to cram in as many as possible these days and I’m sure Berkeley will make the block look as attractive as feasible, but it doesn’t leave a lot of scope for innovative design.
“What with the Royal Quarter, Kingston Riverside and plans to build two huge buildings behind John Lewis [the rejected Thames Side Wharf] if this gets done it will be the most densely populated area in Kingston.”
The exhibition re-opens tomorrow, Saturday, January 11, in the Judge Lecture Theatre at Tiffin School from 10am to 2pm.
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