Kingston Council is set to pursue its proposed development plans for the borough despite opposition from hundreds of local residents.

The Strategic Housing and Planning Committee meeting took place on Tuesday afternoon (January 29).

A supplement for the committee made publicly available by the council cited 'external influences' as impacting their development plans, including the new London Plan and Mayor's Transport Strategy (MTS), which projects a substantial increase in housing growth in the coming years.

The text read: "The new London Plan, which is currently being considered by an independent Inspector, doubles housing growth expectations for the borough to 13,600 homes over the next decade and introduces 'Opportunity Area' status for much of the borough."

Many local residents however, have made their opposition to these proposals clear by signing an online petition created by local Kingston resident and campaigner Caroline Shah.

At the time of publication, 669 Kingston residents and supporters of the campaign had signed the petition.

The text in the online document said: "Kingston Council and the Greater London Authority (GLA) are trying to condemn the Royal Borough of Kingston-upon-Thames to a future of high-density over-development that has been sneaked in behind residents' backs.

"We need to expose the undemocratic and surreptitious way in which the Council cooked up these plans so that we can stop them and exercise our democratic right to influence the shape, form and scale that development will take place in all our neighbourhoods."

The development proposals are linked to the council's drive to secure 'Opportunity Area Status' (OAS) for Kingston borough, which would allow for a greater density of new building developments.

Speaking to the Surrey Comet, Ms Shah said that the apparent lack of public consultation on the development plans had sparked her interest.

Ms Shah said: "I assessed all the information that was available, it seemed to me that the council was pursuing a growth agenda for OAS in the borough, which means vast amounts of development, but without really letting anyone know how that was happening. I felt that was very wrong."

Questioned about the need for more affordable housing across Greater London, Ms Shah added that many campaigners were not averse to more housing, but rather that the council's pursuit of higher housing densities under the OAS application was done without sufficient consultation residents.

Ms Shah said: "It's not that I think Kingston shouldn't be building more homes...but as we are applying for OAS the densities proposed are going to be much greater than they would be if we were not an opportunity area, and that's the problem I have, that it was done secretly and the social and environmental impacts have not been fully considered before applying for OAS and a greater housing density."

Meanwhile, Kingston Council said that a public examination process was still ongoing.

A spokesperson for the Council said: "The London Plan is currently being reviewed by an Examination in Public, full details of which are on the Greater London Authority (GLA) website. If the Mayor is successful and the London Plan is adopted, Kingston and the other London boroughs will need to translate these housing figures into our our Local Plans to ensure delivery.

"The Council is hoping to publish a full public consultation on the issues and options that will help guide the development of our new Local Plan in summer 2019."

Asked whether any environmental impact assessments for the proposals had taken place, the spokesperson said: "Kingston is at the beginning of our process to create a new Local Plan which we hope to have in place by 2022. The preparation of this plan will seek to identify where new homes can be built, whilst safeguarding areas of high environmental quality."

The spokesperson added that the Council was aware of the petition, which it said had not been submitted yet, and was obligated to respond to any petition it received containing 500 or more signatures in a formal discussion at Full Council.

Ms Shah's petition can be found on at this address: