Kingston Upon Thames London Borough Council

All of the seats in Kingston upon Thames were up for election this year. Find out more about these elections.

Election 2018 Results

LD GAIN FROM CON
Party Elected in 2018 Total councillors Change

PartyLiberal Democrat

Elected in 2018 39 Total councillors 39 Change+21

PartyConservative

Elected in 2018 9 Total councillors 9 Change-19

PartyLabour

Elected in 2018 0 Total councillors 0 Change-2
Councillors change compared with 2014

Most Recent

  1. Thousands receive water rates refunds after council overcharges

    Local Democracy Reporting Service

    More than 3,600 council tenants in Kingston have received a refund on their water rates after the High Court ruled that the council overcharged tenants for water.

    Kingston Council has confirmed that 3,670 current tenant households have so far received their refund to their rent account.

    However, no former tenant refunds have been processed yet.

    The council said the processing of former tenants will follow the current tenant accounts.

    So far, the council has refunded £1,388,037 to current tenants.

    Last year the council set aside £750,000 as a provision when the amount and timing of the liability was unknown.

    In October the Court of Appeal confirmed a previous judgement that Kingston Council is liable to local authority tenants for water overcharges dating back to April 1, 2002.

    The court unanimously ruled that the council was a water reseller rather than agency, meaning the authority failed unlawfully to pass on discounts to tenants.

    The council said it “welcomed” the judgement and said it “brought clarity to the situation” and that the council was committed to making any payments as quickly as possible.

    The council says the average refund is approximately £27 per year, per household, but this will vary depending on the level of water rates paid.

    The refund has been applied to current tenants’ rent accounts. If the refund into the rent account means a tenant is in credit, they can receive a refund on this balance.

  2. Council announces plans to redevelop Kingston Guildhall

    Local Democracy Reporting Service

    Plans for Guildhall

    Kingston council’s iconic Guildhall building could soon be redeveloped into new homes, workspace and even a new boutique hotel because the council can “no longer afford to look after it.”

    The plans were revealed by council leader Caroline Kerr in a video posted on the council’s Twitter page on Wednesday where she said: "Like councils everywhere we’re facing severe financial challenges and we’d rather examine our own costs than cut services to our residents.

    “We’ve taken a long hard look at the Guildhall complex where the council currently runs its business. There are three buildings on this site, they cost an eye-watering sum to run. They were built before anyone was thinking about energy efficiency and they aren’t even accessible."

    She added that the offices are currently empty and "when the recovery comes, we won’t be expecting staff to come into the office five days a week and we can’t afford to pour money into office space that we won’t need.”

    She said the council would be looking at new options for the whole complex, including the Guildhall itself, to “invest” in Kingston’s future while also preserving the “iconic building” for future generations.

    Papers released ahead of next week’s meeting outline plans for council staff to work elsewhere in the town centre and in community hubs around the borough to bring services into communities.

    Design and feasibility studies are expected to start next year, with a planning application to be submitted at the end of 2021.

    If all goes according to plan, work on the site could begin in 2023.

    One councillor, Sam Foulder-Hughes, said the plan was "an opportunity to save money on our office and maintenance costs to spend on resident services".

    However, councillor Jon Tolley said that “it’s not a done deal” and “would need to be properly looked at if/when people with cash come along”.

    Local campaigner James Giles called the plan "an outrageous attempt to sell off of the family silver.

    "Ms Kerr does not own the Guildhall. We, the taxpayers, do. We will NOT stand by idly whilst Ms Kerr and her Liberal Democrat administration seek to turn our historic Guildhall into flats. We are ready to fight back.”

  3. London areas to receive Covid-19 mass testing kits

    Twenty one areas in London are to get mass testing for coronavirus.

    The kits, which can deliver results within 15 minutes, are being rolled out to select areas across the country.

    Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the tests would help to detect asymptomatic cases.

    The areas in London getting the kits are:

    Barking and Dagenham, Bexley, Brent, Camden, City of London, Enfield, Greenwich, Hackney, Hammersmith and Fulham, Islington, Kensington and Chelsea, Kingston upon Thames, Lambeth, Lewisham, Newham, Redbridge, Richmond, Southwark, Tower Hamlets, Waltham Forest and Wandsworth.

  4. Fears cycle scheme will be 'on the cheap'

    Local Democracy Reporting Service

    Councillors have expressed concern that Kingston’s Go Cycle programme will have to be finished ‘on the cheap’.

    Transport for London (TfL) had to pause funding for the scheme due to its financial problems caused by the coronavirus crisis, and now Kingston Council is hoping to finish it with reduced funding from TfL’s new Streetspace Fund.

    The borough received the second-largest allocation of any London borough, but the vast majority – £1.95 million – has been allocated for the Go Cycle programme.

    This is less than the previous Mini Holland budget that TfL had originally allocated for these projects.

    Matthew Hill, Assistant Director of Highways, Transport and Regulatory Services said all four Go Cycle schemes would have to be redesigned to reduce costs, including less civil engineering work and cheaper materials.

    Conservative opposition leader, councillor Kevin Davis, expressed concern about how effective the new cycle lanes would be if costs were cut.

    He said: “I do get worried when I start to hear that we’re going to cheapen the schemes and make them less expensive than we had intended by less civil engineering because I’m not sure, the evidence that we’ve had so far of the schemes indicates that slightly softer approach necessarily works.

    “It certainly doesn’t keep the cyclist lobby happy if we go down a cheapened approach to implementation.”

    Cllr Hilary Gander said elements of the cycle infrastructure, such as kerb stones, were relatively cheap and very easy to “bolt in” and keep cyclists safe.

    “There won’t be compromises in that sense, and certainly as far as the major infrastructure such as the river link, that will be completed to absolute safety standards, it is a bridge after all.”

  5. Investigation into care homes coronavirus action begins

    Local Democracy Reporting Service

    A report into the way Kingston care homes have reacted to the coronavirus pandemic has been commissioned by Kingston Council.

    At the borough’s newly formed Response and Recovery Committee last week, council leader Caroline Kerr confirmed she would be asking the chief executive to produce a report looking specifically at care homes, which will be reported back to the council in June.

    She said: “Even though the independent sector dominates our care sector and we only have one local authority care home, it’s very important to understand how that sector has fared.”

    The report will address care home capacity, the number of Covid-19 related deaths in care homes, suspected cases of coronavirus, and the percentage of providers with less than five days of PPE stock.

    As of May 14, 36 people had died having tested positive for Covid-19 in the borough’s care homes and 4.6% of residents had Covid-19-like symptoms.

    The council was also aware of the death of at least one staff member in a Kingston care home.

  6. Health scrutiny meetings scrapped until October

    Local Democracy Reporting Service

    Health scrutiny committees have been temporarily scrapped by Kingston Council in favour of a new ‘Response and Recovery Committee.’

    The council says this is to “balance” officer time between critical front line services during the coronavirus crisis and democratic accountability, claiming that a full schedule of virtual meetings would be too much of a “burden” on officer time.

    Some opposition councillors criticised the move as “a disappointment,” with deputy leader of the opposition, Rowena Bass calling it “a sad day for democracy”.

    The new committee will meet once a month and will be made up of 11 councillors to oversee all the functions currently delegated to strategic committees, including health, finance, children’s and adults services, housing and the environment, until 12 October.

    It will also receive briefings and updates on the council’s response to coronavirus.

    Proposing the motion, council leader Caroline Kerr said: “The structure we’re proposing is a compromise, but we’re living through extraordinary times.

    “To return to the usual committee structure would have been unsustainable as a burden on our officers. We don’t want to do that. Don’t forget that a virtual committee meeting requires three times as much support from Democratic Services as well as two IT staff.”

  7. Council bosses 'short-changed' by government fund

    Graph

    Leaders from the larger local authorities fear the second round of emergency funding will still fail to cover their costs during the pandemic.

    Whitehall has confirmed how it will allocate the second £1.6bn package to support councils.

    Smaller district and borough councils will receive a greater proportion of the funding this time around.

    But council bosses faced with a rising social care bill say the fund does not address their pressures.

    Richmond-upon-Thames and Kingston-upon-Thames are both among those which will receive the lowest extra funding per person.

    Graph
  8. Plans to convert tower block into flats approved

    Local Democracy Reporting Service

    Tolworth Tower

    Plans to turn the tallest building in Kingston into hundreds of new flats have been approved unanimously by the council in an effort to boost growth in Tolworth.

    Work to transform offices at Tolworth Tower into 261 flats will start “immediately” according to the agent.

    The 22-storey building used to contain offices, but these have been left empty for a number of years.

    There were some concerns about the percentage of affordable flats, and the amount of external space and family sized units on the site, as well as the effect on the Marks and Spencer’s supermarket below.

    The Greater London Authority also criticised the under-provision of child-play space.

    However, an agent for the developers said it was “unviable” to provide more three bedroom housing and keep the required number of flats at affordable rents.

    Kingston council is under pressure to approve more housing developments because it does not have proof it can meet government targets for land supply for homes.

    Councillor Malcolm Self highlighted this “compromise” and said: “If this was a vacant site, and we had an application before us to build a 22 storey tower block with residential accommodation, I don’t think we’d be considering it because it wouldn’t have got this far and I wouldn’t be supporting it.

    "However, this is not the position we’re in. We’ve got a grade two listed tower and it’s been vacant for a long time and we all want to see something done with it," he said.

  9. Death of man, 61, 'predictable and preventable'

    Local Democracy Reporting Service

    Kingston Council offices
    Image caption: Kingston Council discussed the review this week

    A bedridden man died in Kingston after suffering a seizure and dropping a cigarette on to his bedclothes engulfing the room in a "predictable and preventable" fire.

    The incident was revealed in a Safeguarding Adult Report which was discussed by Kingston Council this week.

    The 61-year-old man who was largely bed-bound and partly paralysed, died at his home in New Malden in October 2016, after suffering a seizure and dropping a lighted cigarette.

    A review into his death released by Kingston Council found there "should have been an awareness across agencies" that he was at a risk of fire because he liked smoking in bed, he had no fire extinguisher accessible to him or working smoke alarm, and because his carers were using paraffin-based product on his skin.

    Skin creams containing paraffin have been linked to dozens of fire deaths.

    While the seizure could not have been predicted or prevented, the inquiry states "the causation of the fire was predictable and preventable and there are clear lessons to be learned by involved agencies to improve systems and practice in risk management."

    A Kingston Council spokesperson said: "The Kingston Safeguarding Adults Multi-Agency Board have learnt lessons from this sad and tragic case.

    "A thorough review by an independent practitioner was undertaken and their recommendations have been introduced.

    "This includes GPs and Pharmacists being more aware of prescribing certain medications and creams which are at risk to fire safety."

  10. Kingston bosses say councillor numbers should stay the same

    Local Democracy Reporting Service

    The political map in Kingston could change, as officials prepare to launch a review into the number of councillors.

    But local council bosses want to keep things exactly as they are.

    The boundary review will take place during the next 12 months, and Kingston Council is drawing up its initial response.

    An email sent to local political parties, seen by the Local Democracy Reporting Service, ahead of a meeting on 21 February reveals its draft suggestion – asking to maintain the existing 48 councillors.

    The review, by The Local Government Boundary Commission for England (LGBCE), will seek to ensure that each councillor represents roughly the same number of people – and will look at changing the number of elected members in the process.

    But the council thinks the current number of councillors is the “optimum” – and growing population will mean that this number certainly should not be reduced in the near future.

    Any reduction would, the document argues, affect existing councillors’ workloads and personal lives, and exclude many people (e.g. people who work longer hours or young people) from seeking election.

    The decision will affect the way communities are represented at the council, which looks after services like schools and social care, and makes decisions on things like planning.

    At the moment there are 16 wards, each represented by three councillors who were voted in at the local elections in May 2018.

    LGBCE is yet to reveal any of its recommendations.

    Quentin Baker, assistant director of law and governance at Kingston Council, said the authority welcomes the review, saying it was “essential” that residents get involved with the consultation.