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Welcome to the Kingston upon Thames Society

Our mission

The Kingston upon Thames Society, founded in 1962 and affiliated to the Civic Trust, is Kingston’s major voluntary and independent organisation concerned with planning and conservation.

Our principle activities include:

  • A monthly public meeting, with a guest speaker, on a topic of local interest

  • A Newsletter for members every month

  • Society representation on meetings of local conservation and planning bodies

  • Townscape Awards for new buildings of distinction

  • Visits to buildings of interest, and outings to historic towns

  • Co-ordination of the borough’s Heritage Open Days programme

  • Leaflets and Booklets on subjects of local interest

  • Partnership with other groups in community projects

Reviewing new planning proposals

A significant part of the Society’s activity is to review and comment on planning consultations and applications. Each week Kingston Council publishes a list of new Planning Applications, and we comment on those we think are most important,  enabling us to tackle planning problems at their source.

Our Major Schemes page covers the most significant planning applications, such as Tesco Tolworth and The Old Post Office site.

Our Minor Schemes page covers other applications that are on our radar or of concern to us.

Our Other Consutations page covers non application consultations, such as the formulation of the London Plan and Local Plans.

Celebrating some of the good things in the Borough

We organise Kingston’s Heritage Open Days where free entry is offered to interesting buildings that are normally closed to the public. England Heritage Open Days 2019 will be 13-22 September and Open House London 2019 will take place on 21-22 September.

We recognise good local architecture and design through our Townscape Awards. These were last awarded in October 2017.

We act as guardian of one of Kingston’s most important ancient monuments, Coombe Conduit,  built around 1540 as part of a system to collect fresh water from springs on Kingston Hill and channel it to Hampton Court Palace.

Monthly public meetings

The Society wants to increase and improve the debate on what the Royal Borough of Kingston is and what it could be. One way we do this is through our regular public meetings.

We are currently accepting guest speaker bookings for 2019 and have some interesting guests already scheduled  – please contact us for further details.

Full details of our public meetings, and guest speakers and talks are on the Coming Events page

Visits and Socials

The Society organises occassional visits to explore the good and the bad of architecture and design. In 2018 our popular Summer Guided walk started at St Paul’s Cathedral, crossing the Millennium Bridge to the new extension of the Tate Modern Gallery, followed by the Newport Street Gallery.

Our Society Summer Picnic, returned in 2018 which was enjoyed by all who could make it.

Details for upcoming visits and social events will be posted on the Coming Events page.

Major Schemes

We are trying to get the best designs and outcomes from the real plethora of new developments that are facing residents. Lately most of them are predicated on the alleged increase in the population of Greater London in the next 15 years (for Kingston this will mean around 30% more residents than now) and the suggested building of Crossrail 2, again in the next 15/20 years’ time which will affect virtually all the stations and forever change the face of this Borough.

Canbury Business Park

The ‘elephant in the room’ - as always - is the extent to which the site is densely packed with new buildings, & is again in our opinion over developed and too tall

Become a member of the Kingston Upon Thames Society

Why you should join

The Kingston upon Thames Society exists to promote high standards of planning, conservation and design in the Royal Borough. This includes the towns of Kingston upon Thames, Coombe, the Maldens, Surbiton, Tolworth and Chessington.

The Society welcomes new members and there could not be a better time to join us and to meet other people with an interest in conserving, celebrating and enhancing our Royal Borough. 2012 was the 50th Anniversary of the founding of the Society which was formed in response to a road scheme which was highly unsuitable for our Royal Borough. We won that battle and we hope to continue our campaigning fruitfully.

How to join

Membership is only £10 per year, or £15 for couples. Corporate Membership is £30 per year and Life Membership £120.

Members renewing their subscription should use the same form, ticking the box marked “RENEWAL”. Please note that we do not issue membership cards as they have not been found to be useful. Subscriptions will only be acknowledged if members send an SAE.

The Society’s financial year ends on 31 August, and therefore subscriptions are due for renewal from 1 September each year.

If you have not previously completed a Gift Aid form, please do so now. If you pay UK tax as we can get a tax refund on your subscription. Click here for the Gift Aid form.

Join us now

Together we can help make Kingston better for all

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