Events and Updates

Sorry for the long gap since I last wrote. Much has been happening. CREst’s Funday, organised by Jill, went off very well and was attended by the Liz Green, the LibDem leader of the Council and Ian Thomas RBK’s new Chief executive.

Ian Thomas and Jill Preston at the CREst Fun Day 2019

The meetings on the proposed Regeneration have been numerous and there are now models of the new apartments on display in the Tadlow Hub. The Residents, ballot will not take place until early 2020.

One Norbiton and CREst are busy refurbishing their Madingley Hub and setting up the emergency food pantry. We continue to cooperate feeding 40 to 50 needy and homeless Norbitonians every Tuesday thanks to an excellent team of volunteers.

The running of the Halls has been very busy and onerous, particularly for Jill. She has been called at all hours seven days a week – an unacceptable workload for a paid worker let alone a volunteer. Therefore from now on she will be available only during normal weekday office hours (9.00 to 17.00) and on the Hall Mobile 07762 808787. It is possible for users to book the Halls on this site at any time (see the site menu).

However this community service is earning us a very useful income to support all our other activities (which are, of course, non-profit making). Better still we have been attracting new hirers such residents holding parties at weekends. At our meetings of users, there has been general approval for how we have been administering the Halls . Under our agreement with RBK, when our earnings exceed the halls’ running costs, the difference will be used to build up a Community Chest for the benefit of all residents on both Estates. 


For the last month PPCR have been working on the Cambridge Road Estate helping residents understand the implications of Regeneration. Janet Edwards and Lurline Cumberbatch are visiting every home to discuss individual concerns. They can also be contacted by Freephone on 0800317 066 or landline 020 7407 7452 and E-mail on

In addition they are holding weekly POP-UP sessions on Wednesdays from 1pm to 3.30pm usually by our Community Hub at the foot of Madingley and weekly DROP-IN in Piper Hall and Childerley on Wednesdays between 3.00pm and 6.30pm. Please make use of these if you need information.

Congratulations Jill!

Jill Preston has been awarded the Frances Moseley Community Award. Jill who is chair of CREst and Vice Chair of One Norbiton received her plaque in the Mayor’s office this Monday from Cllr Emily Davey after a glowing citation on the enormous amount of work she has done for the Cambridge Estates community. See a photo from the ceremony below.

Some ideas for CRE Master-planning

 Can a rebuild help social regeneration? 

Dr. Mike D’Souza M.D. F.R.C.G.P. F.F.P.H.M. FRSA Diplomas in Immunol. Dermatol. and Management of Drug Misuse 


One Norbiton was set up to improve quality of life by developing more integrated and supportive neighborhoods. Here are some ideas on how regeneration might help achieve this mission. 

Factors that may be reducing neighbourliness on the present CRE 

Some issues like low income, mental and physical Health and high population turnover (1) contribute to our present poor social cohesiveness. Such problems can only be marginally addressed by housing rebuild. However there are others that might well be improved. These include:

(a) lack of security e.g. during the bad weather of 2018, Madingley tower witnessed threatening invasions by the local homeless upsetting families with young children. 

(b) Frequent and prolonged lift failure stressful for wheelchair bound disabled and young mothers with buggies. 

(c) Substance abuse is a long standing problem and Illicit drug-dealing continues to thrive on CRE and recruit our youth – this problem is aided and abetted by the Estate’s present structure with its long balcony rat-runs facilitating escape from police and providing vantage points for look outs. 

These and many other factors, have increased our levels of social stress and have reduced our measurable happiness and health levels well below the rest of Kingston. 

Nevertheless, the vast majority of residents are law abiding and things have been steadily improving over the last decade. This is witnessed by the many residents who, on survey, would opt against regeneration or to return if regeneration goes ahead. 

A few conceptual Proposals 

In my 40 years doing home visits as a GP, I often noticed that some of the most successful and supportive neighbourhoods lived in cul de sacs, an observation that has been shared by others see references (2) and (3) 

Therefore I would propose that an early phase of any new structure could be based on making a construction that encouraged characterful neighbourhood formation rather than anonymous “housing units”. Perhaps this could be achieved by making a series of simple cul de sac crescents coming off a central communicating rising curved road. These could incorporate a series of shared public spaces with a central greens and gardens. These could also be play areas where children could play safely while being overlooked by their families and neighbours, (as indeed they are on our existing Madingley Green). The size of each proposed neighbourhood could vary around a target of about 60 dwellings. The proposed curving access roads might also permit individual gardens or balconies to be created on the top of roofs of the houses below rising to quite a high level. The fabric of the buildings would use modern technology that would help both sound-proof and insulate each unit and reduce running costs as well as noise and items like TESLA solar roof tiles and power walls Heat pumps etc. will perhaps be considered to help achieve this. 

In the wake of Grenfell, our regeneration could showcase how much we prioritized social regeneration. See Fig 1 for a photo-diagrammatic representation of this idea made from £1 coins each of which represents one helical neighborhood of about 60 dwellings. The engineering costs are reduced, if instead of curves there straight -edged twelve-sided spirals like the modern £1-pound coin). To get 60 units per neighborhood the spiral would only need to rise to five stories, although this would depend on the land area and the stacking of these helical neighbourhoods. Apart from these social advantages such a unique structure could be strikingly attractive with flowering gardens both on both the inner and outer aspects of the buildings

Fig. 1 

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Helical Home Streets 

Spiral interconnected stacked neighbourhoods surrounding central communal areas with amenities (18×60 = 1080 units. To create over 2000 units, this overall size of this diagram we would need to be doubled. 

The renaming of the Estate and making the design of each phase be recognizably individualized to give character and facilitate visitors finding their way will also need to be addressed. The issue of pepper-potting i.e. integrating social and private housing units as opposed to constructing separate blocks for each type of resident, needs careful consideration. 

The Public Domain and other Considerations 

Broadening the regeneration footprint? 

If it were possible to extend the footprint of the development to include the Cemetery then the living could get more of the benefits currently only enjoyed by the dead. 

With proper permissions graves tended by living relatives could be tastefully re-sited perhaps in a modern catacomb. Then considerably more green space could be available as well as better access to our famous Hog’s mill river. One Norbiton did propose this three years ago and some local citizens were asked what they thought of the idea. None objected, however clearly all faith groups should be involved before this could be implemented and provision made for continuing funeral services. 

Flexibility of unit size 

Planning social housing requires flexibility with regards to the numbers of units and their physical. Certainly gentrification and massive overcrowding must be avoided. By constructing adjoining units in a way that will facilitate their merging, much like Hotel bedrooms, this problem can be addressed. However, soundproofing is a very important issue that must not be compromised. If social housing is to be constructed alongside owner-occupied it is essential that it is not externally identifiable as such. 

Transport & Parking 

If 2000+ households are to live in the new development, providing car parking space let alone garages for all will be impossible. One suggestion could be to provide no spaces for any one on site but instead instituting a system of electrical vehicles for communal use around the estate that could also be used be by residents access off-site parking. 

Shared public spaces and Halls 

Each spiral cul-de-sac neighborhood would surround its own green area and share some amenities with other local neighbourhoods. Situated by a central shared garden would be a larger meeting place accommodating sports, halls, performance spaces, crèches etc. 

Garden areas and front porches. 

Expert input will obviously be sought in designing the public domain but it would be nice if each unit could in addition had their own small garden area or balcony as well as the defensible space of a porch. However care must be taken to avoid carrying the concept of exclusive neighbourhoods too far. The worst scenario being that rival gangs might arise; see the interesting work of Prof. Tajfel

Other shared facilities 

Internet, TV and Monitoring facility for disabled and elderly linked to an experimental on-line voting facilities to assist community decision-making. 


1. “Analyzing the two electoral rolls of 2014 and 2017 just for Madingley tower where we work, I found that there was a 23% change in the registered electorate including 3 deaths” M D’Souza 2018. 

2.“ Cul-de-sacs may not be quite as popular as they once were but people lucky enough to live on one are the happiest people in Britain, a survey has revealed. 

Neighbors on the dead-end streets are more likely to know each-other’s names, enjoy cups of coffee together and lend tools when compared to any other community. 

The good life found on a cul-de-sac, long considered the epitome of middle class suburban Britain, is so sought after by homebuyers that people will pay up to 20 per cent more just to secure a property, experts say.” 

Daily Mail 2013 

3. Incentives and motivations for Neighbourliness 

4. Alexandra Road Estate- Neave Brown 

A Quick Update

Again apologies for the long silence. At the AGM on the 21st Feb the Chair Mike D’Souza and Vice Chair and Secretary Jill Preston were unanimously re-elected and the Board reappointed. Our Treasurer reported that our finances for 2017/8 were healthy.

The Chair gave our annual awards for service to the Community to Liz Bishop and Tom Bremner.

Quick Update

Again apologies for the long silence. At the AGM on the 21st Feb the Board Chair Mike D’Souza and Vice Chair and Secretary Jill Preston were unanimously re-elected. Our Treasurer reported that the finances for last year were healthy.

The Chair gave our annual awards for service to the Community to Liz Bishop and Tom Bremner.


A quick reminder that our One Norbiton AGM is scheduled for 7.00 pm on 21st February in small Piper Hall. It will not be a long meeting and hopefully a reasonable number of members will attend. Apart from election of officers, Accounts etc the main business will be to hear your views on the future direction of our organisation. To refresh your memory these are our Terms of Reference, Code of Conduct and Draft Constitution. Hopefully we’ll be able to finally approve the latter draft constitution at a subsequent meeting. The rest of the paperwork will be on-line shortly.

One Norbiton 2019 AGM

We are going to hold our AGM on Thursday 21st February in Piper Hall. The doors will open at 6.30 and meeting is scheduled to start at 7.00pm.

The purpose is to elect Officers and Directors and to update the community on local activity. If you would like to contribute please come and join us. If you would like an item on the agenda please email sat

New CRE Youth Club to start!

As we begin the New Year, Achieving for Children are starting up a much needed new Youth Club on the CRE. This will be free and held every Tuesday between 6.00 and 8.00 in the One Norbiton run Piper Hall. If you know any families who may be interested let them see this advert.

Happy Christmas 2018

         One Norbiton would like to wish our 10,000 members a very happy Christmas. 

         Despite the divisions and uncertainties in the National arena, locally, we have had a very good year. We are now working in harmony with our new Council and their Officers. Our 2011 mission to promote Localism is now not only surviving, but at last  prospering. 

          Kingston has always been a very liberal and generous place and as Kingstonians, we continue to show willingness to care for our neighbours, irrespective of political, cultural, religious and other differences.

One Norbiton has reflected this and worked constructively with the two other local representative groups CREst and CRERA. Our joint aim to ensure that all of our members who may be affected by Regeneration will be properly informed in time for next year’s ballot.

           Our 2018 priority has been to help the most disadvantaged in our Ward. To this end, we have supported CREst’s Tuesday Group in providing hot meals and Community Support for over 50 of our Homeless and needy every week. 

         Now, with the support of the Council,  we are in the process of setting up a Community Pantry next door to our Hub on Madingley Green, where we distribute Food Bank vouchers and run our branch of the Boom Credit Union.

From the beginning of January we will be piloting the Community management of Queen Mary’s and Piper Halls. During 2019 we hope to see Boxing and other youth clubs set up and hope to foster more Localism via organising Post Code (Street) Parties. Any reader interested in helping, particularly with the latter, should contact us.

Best wishes for 2019