Kingston Council and partners announce ambitious plans to regenerate Kingston riverside

The Reimagining Kingston Town Centre Strategic Partnership aims to breathe life and vibrancy into a newly revitalised creative and enterprise area of the town.

A substantial part of the £900,000 funding secured from the Get Britain Building Fund administered by the Mayor of London, will go to the refurbishment of the basement of the John Lewis & Partners, a site which hosts ancient remains of a bridge over the Thames.

In a joint collaboration with Creative Youth, the Undercroft, 7,000 sq ft of empty space, will be publicly accessible, providing new jobs and a creative and performance space for young people.

The grant will also help fund improvements to the Kingston Bridge underpass with art installations, lighting and upgrades to the area to transform the walkway along the Thames into a new vibrant riverside space.

Caroline Kerr, Leader of Kingston Council, said:

"This is a fantastic opportunity to reinvigorate a historic riverside location in Kingston and create a vibrant cultural space for young talent in the heart of the town. The Undercroft encapsulates centuries of Kingston’s history and we are looking forward to working with our partners to breath new life into it in creative and exciting ways. It’s part of our future vision for Kingston, revitalising under-utilised spaces and shaping a vibrant future for the whole borough."

Robin Hutchinson MBE, Chair of the charity Creative Youth, said:

“This area of Kingston provides a unique opportunity for the borough at a time when places for the creative industries will be desperately needed. Creative Youth has and continues to work in supporting, encouraging and mentoring young people. The Factory of Futures will offer the space to continue and develop this work in partnership with the University, College, Borough and other local stakeholders offering more opportunities for young people. Through this work we will be able to animate this part of the Kingston riverside to create another dynamic reason to visit the town centre."

Deputy Mayor for Planning, Regeneration and Skills, Jules Pipe, said: 

“This is a great example of taking an underused space and turning it into an important new venue for the local community – as well as creating jobs and a place for young people to explore arts and culture. I look forward to seeing the Undercroft become an important and much-loved facility for people in Kingston and beyond.”

These two projects will be delivered as part of a wider programme of investment at this location to repurpose unused areas and provide affordable workspace for local businesses including digital, creative, design and many more and will support the delivery of the £6m South London Knowledge Exchange programme in the borough, acting as a catalyst for engagement between business and academia, boosting innovation and productivity. The investment package totalling £2.8m will be delivered over the next 18 months.

Published: 5th November 2020