If you had to contain London’s Green Belt loss to One Site its this One

The Chessington Line to Nowhere

Kingston Guardian

Kingston Liberal Democrat politicians have called on the Mayor of London to oppose suggestions by business leaders for a new suburb in Chessington.

The recommendations, outlined by business group London First earlier this month, call for tens of thousands of new homes to be built on green belt land within London.

The new suburb would be served by train expansion through the planned Crossrail 2 scheme, the group said.

Edward Davey started a Facebook group today called: “Say no to 70,000 homes in Chessington”.

Kingston Council leader Liz Green said: “We call on Boris [Johnson] to reject the recommendations that suggest building on our green belt.

“We fight to keep some green and open space within Kingston. We already don’t have that much.”

At the launch of London First’s report, Home Truths, deputy mayor for housing Richard Blakemore stated his support for its recommendations, which include calls for a review of whether green belt land could be used for housing.

But Mr Johnson told the Comet this week: “You don’t have to do this on green belt. My plan is to develop only on brownfield sites.

“Crossrail 2 will make a huge difference.”

Home Truths also recommended boroughs use compulsory purchase powers to reclaim land for housing.

Kingston and Surbiton MP Edward Davey said a new suburb would “put intolerable strain on our roads and local services.”

He added: “The authors of these reports can’t have ever been to Chessington because if they had, they would have realised how daft and damaging these proposals would be.”

There are four reasons why this site is one of the very few in London where GB loss makes sense

1) there is an unbuilt rail corridor extending from Chessington Station to Bansted, construction stopped because of teh second world war, it could easily be linked in to Crossrail and so unlike almost every other site proposed in London’s Green Belt does not raise a transport capacity objection

2) The area around Malden Basset is visual contained with forests and hills all around.

3) Kingston has an acute housing need, lack of large sites and  Chessington has an aging and increasingly poor population in desperate need of a boost

4) There is very little accessible Green Space in this area, for loss of a few 100 acres in Chessington you could create new country parks several times greater in size.

[Am] option would be to allow more intensive residential development at a location along the south western end of the route. As an example, the group identified the area around Chessington South in the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames, which is one of the destinations being considered for Crossrail 2. The area to the south of the Borough contains land that could potentially be released for new housing. The main transport connection at the moment is an underutilised branch line to Chessington South, which provides two trains per hour to Waterloo with a 36 minute journey time. An extended Crossrail 2 line and new station in the area could at least double service frequency to a minimum of 4 trains an hour and provide a direct rail connection into the West End in 35-40 minutes. For illustrative purposes, if 450 hectares of land were released for housing then some 70,000 new homes could be built in a new high value residential location. Assuming a CIL contribution of £200 per square metre per dwelling, initial modelling suggests that some £1,660 million could be raised for Crossrail 2.

Well Ed you asked for it. Its actually quite a good site that any sensible London Green Belt review would have on its shortlist. Is this small amd dull area of countryside worth 1.7 billion, where else would you find it for Crossrail 2?

 

One thought on “If you had to contain London’s Green Belt loss to One Site its this One

  1. 1. The unbuilt railway corridor runs to Leatherhead, not Bansted.

    2. It’s Malden Rushett, not “Basset” and it’s surrounded by low-lying land, not hills (unless you’re a Dutchman, perhaps).

    3. Fair enough.

    4. Hardly small and dull – the area south of Chessington is a precious environment because it has hardly changed (apart from World of Adventures and the garden centre) over the past 100 years despite being so close to London. You say there is very little accessible green space in the area – how does building on the green space you already have make it “accessible”?

    What is probably more sustainable in the long run – and better for the communities concerned – is to increase the density of housing in places like Chessington and Hook. Having high streets with shops on the ground floor, offices on the 1st and 2nd floors and flats on 3rd and 4th floors will increase all-day footfall in places that often are deserted for large parts of the day. This approach reduces the need for commuting, because more jobs and shopping opportunities are available locally, close to where people live. If we stopped building separate offices that are occupied only 40 out of 168 hours a week, and stopped needed barren spaces for people to park cars for a few hours a day, there would be plenty of space available for housing and recreation.

    Developing local communities in a way that reduces unnecessary building and wasted time commuting might not please estate agents, property developers and transport planners, but it would, I suggest, make the rest of us happier.

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