A proposal that could make it easier for Kingston Council to force homeowners to sell their property is going to Full Council next week.

Councillors will vote on whether to grant compulsory purchase powers to the Finance and Contracts Committee at the Guildhall on December 11 at 7.30pm.

Compulsory purchase powers enable local authorities to force homeowners to sell their land if it is in the public interest for them to do so.

If the proposal goes through, compulsory purchase decisions would be made by the Finance and Contracts Committee, which has 11 members and a quorum of three, instead of the 48 strong Full Council.

Resident Caroline Shah said she opposed the proposal because she believed “it would be wrong for a very small number of people who sit on a strategic committee to make such important decisions that throw people out of their homes.“

She added: “It seems to be an obsession to make it easier for them to make their development happen. It’s allowing decisions to be made quickly so that the full implications for this are not considered.”

New Malden campaigner James Giles said: “Giving that decision to a tiny group of councillors means that ultimately it’s not very good, and it doesn’t let councillors represent the interests of their area.

“If it went to a finance and contract committee, it could be three New Malden councillors deciding whether someone in Chessington should be forced to sell their home.”

A Kingston Council spokesperson said: “Many important decisions are taken by committees, a good example of which are decisions on major applications for planning permission, which are taken by the Council's Development Control Committee, which contains eleven Councillors.  

“The Strategic Committees also contain eleven Councillors each and currently, a minimum of three Councillors is required to enable a decision on any matter to be taken.

“However, Strategic Committees are well attended and it would be unlikely that such committees would take any controversial decision with only the minimum number of Councillors present.”