Abandoned university halls in Hampton Wick to be converted to flats
By Charlotte Lillywhite - Local Democracy Reporter
12th May 2022 | Local News
Richmond residents could soon be living in old student halls under plans to transform empty Kingston University flats.
Kingston Bridge House was let to students from 1994 before the building was sold in early 2021 and replaced by new university premises in Kingston's town centre.
Property developer Westcombe Developments initially wanted to raise the tall building close to Bushy Park by two floors to create 89 new homes, but abandoned the plans over concerns about the extra height. The L-shaped building already reaches up to seven storeys, with one section facing onto Hampton Court Road and the other onto Church Grove.
The new plans would see 70 homes created in the building instead. Westcombe Developments called the current building "dated and unattractive". The developer said the cladding on the building had recently been found "unsafe from a fire perspective" and would be replaced.
A statement submitted with the plans says: "The situation is made worse by the discovery recently that the external cladding to the building is in poor condition and requires replacement in the near future. The building is in poor condition and not fit for purpose. The delivery of much needed new homes would meet a greater need for Richmond Council." The statement says the development would make "more efficient use of redundant buildings".
Around 40 locals attended a four-hour meeting to discuss the plans at the end of February. Residents' main concern was parking, with fears raised about parking spilling onto other streets and future residents "stealing" current spaces. Residents of the new development, if it went ahead, would not be able to apply for parking permits.
Twenty-one parking spaces are proposed for the homes, including 7 disabled spaces. No affordable housing has been proposed for the scheme so far. A viability report by DJC Housing Consultants submitted last month says the development "cannot support" any affordable homes.
The building was built as offices in the mid-1960s before being converted into student accommodation, with 218 bedrooms, in the mid-1990s. Westcombe Developments said no other local education providers would want to occupy the building because of its scale. Under the new plans, six studios along with 42 one-bed, 15 two-bed and seven three-bed flats would be created in the building. Some of the flats would have balconies.
Construction of the development would begin in October if it was approved. The Westcombe Group has been contacted for comment.