Creating a vibrant and welcoming town centre is very important to its success, and it’s a key part of our commitment to our businesses. One of the ways we are supporting this aim is through our Social Spaces project.
The project has been organised by Kingston First in partnership with Kingston Council, to bring additional seating and planting to the town centre. Kingston First’s research with both consumers and businesses has shown a strong desire for more green spaces in the town centre. To help address this the aim of this project is to deliver three temporary schemes in Thames Street, Lower Fife Road and outside Kingston railway station, bringing additional greenery and supporting biodiversity in our town. It is hoped that temporary enhancements to the town centre will support the recovery of the local economy as we come out of lockdown, and enable local hospitality businesses to extend their outdoor eating offer.
Throughout the design process for Thames Street both organisations have engaged with accessibility groups and businesses about the proposals, to understand any concerns and adapt the designs and plans accordingly. It’s clear how vitally important this area is for access to the riverside, shops, services and community facilities. The feedback was given careful consideration and as a result it was ensured that disabled parking was retained in Bishop’s Hall, and additional provision was made in Thames Street and Fife Road.
The scheme involves the closure of part of Thames Street to enable it to become a pedestrian and cycle only zone, from 10am to 5pm every day.
Blue Badge holders will still be able to enter the area in order to access the existing 4 blue badge parking bays in Bishops Hall at all times of the day.
The Council has converted two pay and display parking bays outside 23 Fife Road to blue badge parking.
The first part of Thames Street remains open at all times, and has loading and disabled parking bay provision. Three bays will be available for blue badge parking between noon and 10.30pm, with a maximum stay time of three hours. There is also space for two additional spaces within the scheme area outside of the operational hours of 10am to 5pm.
The reallocation of disabled spaces impacted by the scheme is also intended to include the provision of bays within the Guildhall complex, as they are close to the town centre. At present they can be accessed at weekends and evenings and the Council are striving to extend this to include the whole of the weekdays.
This scheme is an experiment that can be in place for up to 18 months. There are surveys on Kingston Council’s Let’s Talk engagement platform and we welcome people sharing their views, experiences and suggestions about these temporary measures: