What we have done
A Kingston Master Plan issued in April 1963 was the Society's first 'battle ground'. In particular, the Society opposed (successfully) a proposed ring road, part of which would run along the riverside.
In the early days there was in Council circles (as the Society's published history Kingston Conserved recalls), 'an undercurrent of wariness towards this new collection of busybodies'. Over the years barriers of mutual suspicion have been broken down. The Society now enjoys the respect of Kingston Council, which often solicits its advice about planning applications which are likely to prove contentious.
For its part, the Society reserves the right to be outspokenly critical of what its committees see as undesirable Council actions (or inaction). It plays a large part behind the scenes in shaping decisions that affect the townscape by its representation on Conservation Area Advisory Committees, and its watching brief at Neighbourhood Committees and other Council consultative committees. It maintains regular scrutiny of borough planning applications and makes representations to Kingston Council, and to the local newspapers, on controversial issues. A few highlights of recent years:
- Kingston Society, and in particular its vice-president Ken Peay, played a major part in the campaign to save the Filter Beds site on Portsmouth Road from undesirable development, which was successful.
- The Kingston Society played a major part in blocking a Tesco proposal for a supermarket at Giggs Hill Green.
- The Kingston Society played a major part in opposing the excessive height originally proposed for the Charter Quay development, as a result of which its overall size was considerably reduced.