Will Kingston Conservatives dispose of three community assets despite a school places crunch and an ongoing family housing crisis?
Liberal Democrats raised concerns about Conservatives selling off the family silver and fought to get the recommendation to make the properties surplus changed. Whilst the wording was changed, the Conservative Administration refused to rule out disposing of the Council properties.
At last night’s Growth Committee, the Conservative Administration proposed to declare the following three Council properties as “surplus to requirements.”
22 Gloucester Road, Norbiton
Hobkirk House and Noble Resource Centre, Blagdon Road, New Malden
Newent House, Brown’s Road, Surbiton
Joined up thinking required
Speaking from the public gallery, Liberal Democrat Chair of Surbiton Neighbourhood, Councillor Malcolm Self urged the committee to consider keeping the option of Newent House for a primary school.
Malcolm said, “The proposal for Swan House in Kingston to become a Free School for Surbiton children is absurd. The site at Newent House is one hundred times more suitable and if you do some joined up thinking - surely it has to be kept for a primary school.”
Families in B&B housing crisis
With the housing crisis in the borough, Liberal Democrat Planning Spokesperson, Councillor Bill Brisbane made an eloquent argument for 22 Gloucester Road to be used for housing.
Bill said, “Currently the Council has 144 homeless families housed in Bed and Breakfast accommodation costing £10,000 per family, per annum. Alternatively this property which is in reasonably good condition could be converted into social housing using Section 106 affordable housing contributions.”
External Links: 'Obvious need': Lack of a new school apparent as predicted school places rise in Surbiton (Kingston Guardian)