Kingston Planning Success
We are overjoyed to announce that the proposed redevelopment of Surrey County Hall has been given a resolution to grant consent at the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames Planning Committee. The project which was acquired by our Client, RER London, in 2020, was conceived, designed and consulted upon during the COVID pandemic, and it is a credit to the Council, Client and Consultant Team for their unwavering commitment to realizing such a groundbreaking development.
The reimagining of the redundant Grade II* Listed Surrey County Hall, will bring back into use one of Kingston’s much loved historic buildings, to provide a mixed-use development consisting of new flexible workspace, events space and high-quality homes, set within its newly landscaped 5 acre grounds.
Originally built in 1893 to designs by CH Howell and enlarged through the inter-war years by E Vincent Harris, with later additions up until the 1980s, the Surrey County Hall was established on the site when Kingston became the administrative centre for the County of Surrey. Containing the administrative headquarters for Surrey County Council, the Council Chamber and the County Court Room, the building was vacated by the Council in 2020.
The retention, restoration and re-use of over 80% of the existing building offers a unique opportunity for a highly-sustainable, truly mixed-use town centre development providing approximately 50,000 sqft of flexible workspace aimed at entrepreneurs and creative industries with capacity for almost 600 people, with the main heritage spaces being made accessible for meetings, talk and cultural events by local civic groups and associations, whilst ensuring that this important historic local civic landmark building will be bought back into use.
In addition, non-heritage assets will make way for new high-quality residential buildings that have been designed sympathetically to harmonise both with the Listed buildings and also the neighbouring residential properties, and together with the conversion of the former administrative offices, the development will provide 292 private and affordable homes, together with resident’s lounges and a café to be used by residents, workers and the community alike, integrating the new elements into the existing fabric of the site while preserving its character.
To enhance the site, this largely car-free development will create 50,000 sqft of high-quality public and private amenity, including the planting of over 120 new trees is proposed, together with both soft and hard landscaping improvements to the existing public realm facing onto the surrounding streets. The existing courtyards that form the heart of the Listed buildings, previously used for car parking and servicing, will be richly landscaped and publicly accessible. A new cycle-friendly, pedestrian passageway will be formed through the site, linking for the first time Penryn Road, one of the main thoroughfares into the town centre, with the residential streets and Thames Walk beyond.
‘It is clear that the applicants have given a great deal of consideration to the significance of Surrey County Hall when formulating the proposed plans for conversion of the building to new uses. This has resulted in proposals that largely retain original fabric and plan form and are less interventionist. We welcome the restoration and re-use of the most significant interior spaces in their original form’.