Plans for 243 homes revealed for Surbiton station car park

An initial concept for hundreds of new rental homes, a consolidated replacement car park, as well as the refurbishment of the Grade II Listed southern ticket hall were made public in the run-up to Christmas in public consultations.

Proposals which will be subject to subsequent alternations, are being proposed by Solum a partnership between Kier Property and Network Rail who look to unlock regeneration, housing, and passenger experience improvements around stations.

Previous schemes include a smaller scheme in Twickenham and a scheme currently underway in Guildford. Income from the development that Network Rail receives is then re-invested back into rail infrastructure.

The scheme is earmarked as suitable for taller buildings, within the respective planning authority’s draft Tall Building Strategy.

Ideas outlined within December’s planning consultation included the reduction of the number of car parking spaces by 48% from 446 to 250, contained within a new multi-storey car park to allow for the new homes to be built later on and improvements to the public realm.

The Southern Ticket Hall and surrounding car park, image credit Google Maps Street View.

Surbiton is well served by local and semi-fast services to and from London Waterloo, it is also on the 2015 safeguarded route of Crossrail 2 with the first 5m of land adjacent to the railway reserved for potential future operation.

The listed Southern Booking Hall is to be brought back to life with a non-residential use. Montagu Evans and
the design team are in discussions with the Railway Heritage Trust to discuss options for the Southern Booking Hall. Initial ideas include a commercial use (e.g. shop, cafe, restaurant).

Solutions to provide step-free public access across the station are being explored and assessed.

At the early point in this scheme, whilst the number and tenure of the proposed home are known the precise affordable quantity would be made public as the scheme gets closer to planning submission. However, according to an officer at the consultation, only around 10% of the 243 flats would make for affordable housing.

This conflicts with Kingston Council’s Affordable Housing planning document states developments of over 10 units should have 50% affordable properties; This suggests at least 121 of the new homes should be affordable, instead of 24.  

The Art-deco-style ticket hall with narrow squared-headed windows and clock tower is now considered one of the finest modernist stations in the country. The building was granted Grade II listed status in 1983.

Early design proposals for the residential segment of the proposals, image credit PRP Architects.

This scheme has also faced criticism from both local Labour and Conservative Councilors, including Helen Edward the Conservative Parliamentary Candidate for Kingston & Surbiton. She is reported to have, said: “A 17-storey tower next to Surbiton Station is far too tall. Too often developers play games by proposing ridiculous heights, so it looks like they have listened when coming back and reducing by a few storeys.” 

Kingston’s Labour Party said it was also “concerned”, adding the proposal “might be better” in keeping with the height of the neighbouring blocks of Glenbuck Court (five) and Wellington Court (five).  The Party added it will be watching very closely to ensure that the Council holds the developer to its obligations to deliver affordable housing at the levels they have committed to.  

Kezia Coleman, Chair of the Kingston and Surbiton Labour Party, said: “Housing costs in Kingston are extremely high, and for many, the dream of homeownership in the community they call home is out of reach.  This is illustrated by the average flat prices in Kingston in 2023 were £392,374, a good 57.5% higher than the UK average of £249,064.

 The Council’s Design Review Panel assessed the potential plans in August 2023. No formal application has yet been made, but Solum estimates it will submit a planning proposal by April 2024.