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BDP wins approval for contentious Kingston scheme

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Contentious plans by BDP to redevelop the 1960s Eden Walk shopping centre in Kingston town centre have been approved by councillors.

The development control committee at London Borough of Kingston this week approved the mixed use scheme despite concerns over its impact on the historic area (see BDP’s Kingston scheme faces opposition).

Backed by developer British Land, the scheme includes 380 homes, 18,000m² of retail, 3,000m² or leisure, 3,200m² of office space plus car parking.

The council received 171 letters of objection, many complaining about excessive height of the tallest building – planned at 16 storeys.

The Campaign to Protect Rural England wrote to the council saying that views from Richmond Hill could be harmed by the development.

In its comments, Historic England added: ‘To be acceptable very large developments should be in an appropriate location, of excellent design quality and should enhance the qualities of its immediate location and wider setting.

‘Given its poor relationship to its historic context and the harm it causes to the significance of a number of listed buildings, we believe the proposals fail to meet these test.’

However, the heritage organisation concluded that, despite these concerns, the harm to the surroundings caused would be less than substantial.

A report by the borough’s planning officers rejected the worries about harm to views of Kingston.

It said: ‘In many respects it is an improvement on the setting as the existing built form has little variation and the scheme would provide welcome variation to the existing datum level.’

A viability review on behalf of the council confirmed that the scheme cannot support any affordable housing.

However, British Land has proposed that 39 residential units (10 per cent) will be sold as Starter Homes at a 20 per cent discount to market rates.

This discount will apply in perpetuity, going further than emerging government legislation, which only applies the discount for sales within the first five years.

A spokesman for British Land said: ‘The new Eden Walk will transform Kingston’s retail environment and deliver new homes and hundreds of jobs in the town centre.

‘We are delighted that the Royal Borough of Kingston has approved the scheme and we look forward to working with them over the next few years to deliver this exciting mixed-use project.’

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