Opportunity Areas: whose opportunity ?.

Whilst no one wants to stop genuine homes being provided for our citizens - shelter is a human right - many are concerned about the way this is being undertaken. The inclusion of much of Kingston as 'Opportunity Areas' to deliver housing targets of 30,000, has raised a number of questions- including from our council - who want to see this figure halved.



There is an  impression that the label 'Opportunity Area', confers a 'permitted development right', which can lead to 'total footprint developments' with  'total biodiversity loss' (suspending both the legal duty of the Mayor and the council  in their obligations to 'conserve wildlife in all of their functions'); but we can't let this happen - no one can live without nature.

At the Examination in Public of the London Plan only the GLA team appeared happy with OA's- there was a consensus amongst the community organisations, who had been through the process - as follows:

  • Earls Court OA 'people have been marginalised',  'put quarts into pint pots', no social infrastructure, 'development should be integrated not isolated, gung-ho development  up to the density matrix, 'we have been sold up the river', how can the mayor call-in when he is part of the delivery vehicle,' we want homes not units';

  • Isle of Dogs OA, 'there is no longer an appetite for large scale office development, which stagnate these areas, more diversity and smaller units are required;

  • Just Space 'capacity does not increase as home and jobs are destroyed by developing OA's, OA's are outside the democratic process and should be produced through the Local Plan process not on a numbers game;

  • Enfield: we cannot move forward with the huge numbers planned for the Lea Valley (Meridian Water) due to an issue with CIL, (which was too in-house to report);

  • Euston Group, negative effect on Greenspace with loss of St. James' and Euston Garden, listed buildings demolished, air quality worsened, no light reaching homes;

  • Kingston Council,' we need to halve the housing target and make the rest contingent on Crossrail 2, not know if we have sites available, there is a conflict with Mol and Green Belt designation in the proposed OA's;

  • Nicky Gavron- the assembly supports Opportunity Areas but we recognise distinctiveness in relation to Kingston;

  • Environment Agency, no reference to flood risk, green infrastructure needed for a resilient city, no environmental infrastructure;

Opportunity Areas were born in  the Council's 'Direction of  Travel' document 2016; 'Affordable' housing and protection of the ecology of the Hogsmill Valley were afterthoughts in the document.


In the 'Director of Place's' report (to advise councillors on the "Direction of Travel" document) 2016 Appendix B, B5 under the environment heading:


"Environmental Implications 


34. None."

Opportunity areas designated to acheive 30,000 new homes  in Kingston Town including the regeneration of Cambridge Road Estate; New Malden, Tolworth and Chessington.

Kingston: How will developing Sites of Nature Conservation Importance, Greenbelt and MOL be in the spirit of becoming   a  National Park City

Queenshurst the former gasholder site opposite Sainburies in Kingston These apratments are offered for sale in Malaysia and Singapore see https://www.edgeprop.my/content/822579/berkeley-group-launches-queenshurst-malaysia

The Price of Regeneration Anna Minton

Contemporary “placemaking” policies have brought about the hyper-gentrification of large swathes of London and the loss of longstanding communities. But now there are signs of real resistance: “Placemaking” is a vague term, which seems to have originated in the U.S., at the behest of the American policy makers who have been so influential in shaping U.K. policy towards cities. The New Localism acknowledges that the typical outcome is “tenant replacement” as “yesterday’s artist’s lofts become tomorrow’s investment banker’s condos”


Elephant and Castle, where the Heygate Estate was demolished in the face of huge local opposition and replaced by the luxury complex Elephant Park, the London College of Communication has partnered with developer Delancey to redevelop the shopping center in a scheme that uncannily mirrors what is happeningelsewhere.

Total footprint developments in my district

copyright Alison Fure

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Bonner Hill Road Kingston upon Thames KT1 3HE