NewsHeadlines | Major Planning Applications | Minor Planning Applications


Aside from our public meetings and responding to various major planning applications and other significant planning applications, here is what else has been happening at the Society:

Chairman's Message

December 2017

I would like to welcome our new members, as well as those who have been loyal supporters of the Society for many years.

The Society has been recently consulted upon a series of very large and important developments and plans across the Borough. We are trying to cope with responding to them, and making constructive comments. This work is set to continue as never before.

Some of the Committee members have served for a long period, and will in due course wish to stand down, so I am appealing to all members to consider if they would be willing to join the Committee, to inject some fresh blood and ideas, thus ensuring that the Society continues to be a force to be reckoned with by both the Council and others..


Anthony Evans


Sylvia Blanc Remembered

Photo: Sylvia Blanc 1927-2017Sylvia Blanc 1927-2017

There can be nobody to whom the Kingston Society owes a greater debt than Sylvia Blanc, who has died at 90.

Together with her husband Alan and a small group of like-minded townsfolk, Sylvia established the Kingston Society in 1962 to oppose a ringroad scheme which would have severed the town centre from the river.

Undiscouraged by negative reaction from some quarters, including Kingston Council where some dismissed the newly-formed Society as a collection of busybodies, the Society saw the relief road plan abandoned, and was soon ready to take up other battles on behalf of the townscape, in which Sylvia played an active and passionate part.

During her 50-year association with the Society. Sylvia at one time or another filled most of its executive posts. A marathon performance as secretary for 20 years, from 1978 to 1998, was followed by a two-year stint as chairman. Even after that, she could not tear herself away from the Society: for five more years she remained Planning Secretary.

When she finally stepped down from the committee in 2008 the then chairman, Jennifer Butterworth, said the Society ‘owed more to Sylvia than can ever be repaid’.

The Kingston Society’s management of Coombe Conduit is largely Sylvia’s legacy too. She took the leading part for the Society in nearly a year of negotiations with English Heritage over practical issues of insurance, safety and lighting, before the Society was in a position to take on responsibility for opening the Conduit to the public.

As well as steering the formal affairs of the Society in its relations with councillors, architects and developers, Sylvia is remembered by old-timers with special affection for her organisation of the Society’s social affairs. After a hugely successful visit to Kingston’s twin town of Delft in 1983, never a summer went by without members being herded onto a coach – or two coaches – for an outing to some town, stately home or historic building.
Often the schedule included more than one attraction on the same outing: Sylvia was indefatigable in ensuring that every hour of our excursions was filled with new experiences.

Sylvia’s service to Kingston received public recognition in 2014 with a Mayor’s Community Award, conferred for outstanding service in the voluntary sector.

The Kingston Society honours Sylvia’s great achievements, and expresses its condolences to her daughter and two sons and their families.

- Michael Davison


Tony Leitch Townscape Awards 2017

Our bi-annual Townscape Awards event in October was a great success.
You can read more about it here


An Urban Room For Kingston?

Photo: The New London Model at the NLA, The Building Centre © Agnese SanvitoThe New London Model at the NLA, The Building Centre © Agnese Sanvito

Members of the Kingston Society will be well aware of the unprecedented development pressures facing the borough. And yet there is no dedicated space where individual development schemes for Kingston or a strategic overview can be presented and communicated to the public. A neutral forum where residents can engage with planning proposals, and developers and the council can communicate and consult about their plans, seems desperately needed. This would ensure that residents can positively contribute to the changes to their neighbourhoods, and reduce the risk of bad developments happening. This is the role of an urban room; to provide a space where proposals can be discussed, ideas generated and plans developed. A model, virtual or actual, could help to give context and highlight possible linkages. Individual planning applications could be shown, with separate displays for large scale developments. It could also provide a rich educational resource for local schools and colleges. 

There are around twenty urban rooms in the UK both permanent and temporary, linked by the Place Alliance's Urban Room Network,

The Kingston Residents Alliance and the Kingston upon Thames Society support the idea of an urban room for Kingston. Other potential supporters/partners are being approached, including the University of Kingston, with a view to setting up a working group to explore the feasibility of the proposal, and its aims and objectives, and what form a Kingston Urban Room might take. Those interested in helping to take forward a Kingston urban room are cordially invited to get in touch with Peter Karpinski at