Kingston Station is at the heart of Kingston’s cycling network. It’s the site of a new multi-million pound cycle hub, the brand new Wheatfield Way and nearby Old London Road Mini-Holland routes, and other bike routes linking to the town centre and north along Richmond Road. But only a hundred metres away, a planning application has been submitted to rip out the existing protected bike lane. So what’s going on?
Kingston Gate is a proposed development, building over a car park and an adjacent busy road. The developers propose diverting this traffic onto Richmond Road, but they want to remove the bike lane in order to do so. This will completely sever this cycle route, and their proposed diversion on the pavement around the back of the shops for people cycling is a waste of time. In the second phase of development, they say, they will demolish this row of shops, and they say they will then put a northbound cycle path back in.
But there’s a real risk that Phase 2 won’t even happen. If Phase 1 goes ahead as planned, there is no obligation on the developers to apply for the permission required for Phase 2. Even if they do, there’s no obligation to actually construct it – planning applications go unbuilt for all kinds of reasons. And most worrying of all, they don’t even own any of the properties that would need be demolished for Phase 2 to go ahead. This means the supposedly temporary loss of the protected bike route would become permanent.
This has to be stopped before it gets started, or we could lose this route completely. The Council should be upgrading this route in the first place – it’s a key link in their existing plans, and they should be providing protected space for southbound cycling, never mind retaining the northbound protected route throughout any planned works. Richmond Road is a key cycling artery, both now and for the future.
It’s not too late for the developers to change their proposals, or for the council to reject them. But for this to happen we need your support.
How to Object
Kingston Cycling Campaign have already submitted our detailed objection to this scheme – covering much more than the problems covered here. But the best way to ensure this route is kept is for everyone to add your own objections – we know from experience that the more objections, the more weight is given to them.
- Visit the application on the council’s website: 19/02323/FUL
- Fill in the form, and pick “Object” as your stance
- Tick “Access or traffic problems”
- In the comment, say that you object to the proposal on the grounds of Road Safety, that you object to the removal of the protected bike lane on Richmond Road during any phase of construction, that you object to any reinstatement being dependent on subsequent phases which may not go ahead and you object to there being no consideration of a southbound protected bike lane being added at any stage of the project or in the future.
Note that comments have to be submitted by the end of Wednesday 21st April – so please take a minute and submit yours right now!