FOR many of us, January is a time for resolutions to exercise more, eat healthily or learn a new skill. But for some local people, their hopes for the new year may be more fundamental.

Kingston currently has more than 900 households living in temporary accommodation and around 3,700 on our housing register for social housing. There are also elderly and disabled residents whose quality of life is being impacted by living in homes that no longer meet their needs.

Providing more housing can be a contentious issue. Residents rightly want new developments to respect the things we value about Kingston. Only by planning for this will we be able to ensure that new homes go in the places where they are needed, meet the needs of local people and preserve those things that are precious to us about our borough, whilst also protecting the unique character of Kingston.

Just before Christmas, our planning committee gave outline approval for the masterplan to regenerate the Cambridge Road Estate and provide 2,170 new homes. More than 940 will be affordable homes and it will see us provide the first new council homes in Kingston for a generation.

Alongside this, our Small Sites programme will lead to four under-utilised sites across the borough being developed, providing 101 new, low-cost, rented homes for local people. These new council homes, built to high standards of construction and design, will reduce carbon emissions and enable residents to live more sustainably.

We need to provide homes for people facing a range of circumstances. The council has just launched an innovative new approach to homelessness and rough sleeping as well as providing 50 Syrian refugees with homes. We are continuing to work to resettle more refugees, including those from Afghanistan.

Surrey Comet: Cumberland HouseCumberland House

We also strive to improve the homes of elderly residents and residents with disabilities with homes that meet their needs. For example, the number of Kingston residents living with dementia is expected to soar from around 1,500 currently to more than 2,100 in 2027. Our new state-of-the-art dementia care nursing home in Surbiton will provide 80 residents with the highest standard of care and support when it opens later this year.

Getting the design of new homes right is also very important to us and that is why we will continue to engage with residents to make sure new developments respect the way local people want the borough to look and feel in the future.

Kingston is required to deliver nearly 10,000 new homes over the next decade. This is not our target, but is a legal requirement set by the Mayor of London in the London Plan and by the national government housing targets.

The council is looking into new housing projects in the heart of Kingston’s town centre, for example the Cattle Market car park behind the Kingfisher leisure centre. We believe there is a huge potential to significantly improve the town centre. Any plans will respect the borough’s precious history and heritage; they will provide new life and purpose to the town centre and they will provide many more homes for local people who need them.

Having a secure and comfortable home is something everyone should expect. It is our job to make this a reality for all Kingston residents.