A plan for Kingston town centre area
A vision for Kingston town centre
Kingston town centre is always changing. Kingston is once again facing a transformational change with many sites coming forward for redevelopment, bringing new investment, uses, residents, jobs and opportunities.
To proactively coordinate and manage this change Kingston Council has created a community-led vision for Kingston town centre and the surrounding area, to shape what we want the future of Kingston to look like. To ensure the vision is inclusive, deliverable and owned by all, we followed the new national best practice design process, engaging with a wide variety of people during 2022 and 2023 to create the final document.
Thank you to everyone for their input and feedback. The final document is available to download from the pages on the vision on our engagement website, Kingston: Let's Talk.
Public engagement on the vision
The development of the vision began in March 2022 by setting up a demographically representative Citizens’ Panel. They met three times during the year and this ran alongside a number of other engagement work streams including workshops and drop in sessions with local residents, community groups, local businesses, landowners and developers. A draft document, Your Vision Our Future, was developed in early 2023 based on over 600 comments.
As well as this engagement the work to create a draft vision was also informed by feedback we received during the further engagement on the Local Plan in summer 2021 and an economic development report which Arup were commissioned to do pre-Covid looking at the changing nature of the town centre economy over the next 15 years.
A second phase of engagement took place to seek people’s comments on the draft document from March to April 2023. This was widely promoted and supported by a regularly staffed exhibition in the pilot ‘urban room’ in Kingston’s Market House. Feedback from this further phase of engagement was used to refine the vision and produce the final document, which was endorsed by the Place Committee on 20 June 2023.
Why do we need a vision for the Kingston town centre area?
The vision is needed because Kingston town centre area is currently experiencing significant levels of change. We need a vision to be proactive and ensure we:
- Find sustainable ways to adapt and breathe new life into our town centre, making it is resilient to climate change so our local economy and communities can thrive
- Invest in and create memorable places and spaces for everyone to enjoy and benefit from
- Celebrate and enhance Kingston’s rich heritage and cultural diversity
- Respond to opportunities emerging through the major development of Unilever HQ, council led development and the educational offering at Kingston University and Kingston College
- Require all new development to be of the highest design quality, environmental sustainability and inclusivity to all people
- Secure a balanced mix of commercial spaces, homes, green spaces and infrastructure
Your Future Our Vision has three key ambitions for the future of Kingston town centre and the surrounding area. These ambitions are supported by a number of aims and objectives. Together they sit underneath a single overarching commitment to take action to address the climate crisis and to meet our net zero carbon targets for the borough, as set out in the council’s Climate Action Plan.
- A thriving riverside and cultural destination
- London’s leading metropolitan town centre
- Greener, sustainable and better connected
These ambitions are brought to life in the document in three descriptive big changes, where text and sketches paint a picture of what Kingston could be like in the future, underpinned by specific place based interventions.
Case studies with each big change, show where and how the vision is already being put into practice.
- Big change 1: Beautifully transformed riverside spaces: The River Thames and the Hogsmill Riverside spaces are now Kingston’s richest and most celebrated assets.
- Big change 2: Connected hubs of innovation and enterprise: A well connected historic town awash with green infrastructure, creative enterprises and high-quality homes supported by a network of healthy, walkable streets and relaxing green and waterways.
- Big change 3: A first rate destination for culture, retail and leisure: Kingston is a renowned hotspot for culture, heritage, experiential shopping, dining and recreation, with exceptional day and night time entertainment for all our communities to enjoy.
The vision document complements the emerging Local Plan by providing a detailed vision and aspirations for the Kingston town centre area. The council will strategically align the Local Plan with the principles and ideas expressed in the vision document.
The next step is to develop planning frameworks, design guidance and delivery strategies and programmes which will enable the ambitions to be delivered on the ground by the council and/or its partners. These will set out the strategic framework for the area’s transformation, regeneration and investment.
For more information about the 2022 and 2023 engagement and reports from the workshops with the Citizens’ Panel visit our engagement portal.