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 

Background 

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. 


References 

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.

AGM AT 7.00 PM ON THURSDAY 21st FEBRUARY

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 1norbiton@gmail.com.

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

One Norbiton bids for an Aviva Community award

PLEASE HELP US TO WIN SOME FUNDING TO HELP OUR COMMUNITY

“One Norbiton hopes you’ll be kind enough to give us your ten votes to win an Aviva Community Grant. These funds will be used to hold localised events to promote the idea of ‘Community’.

As you will have heard, our Cambridge Road Estate is among the 10% most disadvantaged in the UK and may shortly be facing Regeneration. We are anxious to increase neighbourliness to help reduce loneliness and isolation during these uncertain times.

NB: For One Norbiton to be in with a chance of winning all votes have to be in within the next few weeks and so it would be great if you could forward this to any family and friends who may be willing to help as well.

To vote click this link

CREATING MORE REAL COMMUNITIES IN NORBITON

Thanks a lot

Dr Mike D’Souza
Chair of One Norbiton

RESIDENTS BALLOT ON REGENERATION

On Wednesday the 4th of October the three Chairs of CRERA, CREst and One Norbiton individually invited all CRE residents to a meeting in Piper Hall to discuss the new Council’s decision to hold a Ballot on regenerating their Estate.
Holding a ballot is apparently not compulsory because Kingston has already received its donation towards Social Housing from former Mayor,Boris Johnston. However the fact that they are going to do so is very welcome because this Regeneration Project is likely to cost over a billion pounds and take ten to fifteen years to complete. it Therefore it would be foolhardy to proceed if it does not have the backing of the residents as well as the support of all political parties who could possibly be in power in the next decade or so.
The ballot itself, will not be taking place until the Autumn of 2019 when a Masterplan worked out with RBK’s (still to be chosen) development partner is ready to be shown to the Residents for their acceptance or rejection. The purpose of this meeting was to explain the Mayor’s current guidance on how such ballots should be held and to find out how much our residents agreed with his suggested process.
There were over seventy attendees including Cllr Emily Davey (Portfolio holder for Housing) Cllr Olly Wehring Council officers and the Three Chairs. The proceedings were very ably led by Tom Brennan who gave a Presentation Interesting the current estimate of the numbers that may be balloted is 705.
Following Tom’s formal presentation, all participated in a workshop to raise questions and issues that the residents had with these arrangements. These will be further discussed at a follow-up meeting on the 17th of October.

CREst’s FUN DAY A GREAT SUCCESS

Last Saturday’s Fun Day organised by Jill Preston, Chair of CREst, was a great success. More people attended than last year and for a change the weather was kind. The Barbecue was well cooked by our new Councillor David Ryder-Mills and our MP Sir Edward Davey attended. The Donkeys and the funfair rides made a lot small children happy as did the excellent face painting by Hayley.
One Norbiton is continuing to support these Fun Days and we hope to start promoting other social events in the Ward such as Post Code Parties. Any one interested in helping with these activities can contact Jill Preston.