After months of deliberations, the ballot on the future of the Cambridge Road Estate in Kingston opened today (Monday, February 24).

The open vote for residents on the estate will run through March 18 on the 'redevelopment' plans for the area proposed by Kingston Council (RBK).

As the Comet reported previously, the ballot is the first of its kind in the borough — drawn up after months of preliminary meetings between residents, developers and councillors since the initial plans were mooted back in 2017.

RBK's plans for regeneration include demolishing hundreds of existing homes and building 2,000 new homes in their stead, of which 114 (or one of every 17.5) will be new council houses.

The Liberal Democrat Council Leader Liz Green expressed her support for approving the proposals in a statement published as voting opened on Monday:

"All our residents deserve the best homes and I don’t believe people living on the estate currently have that.

“The ballot on whether to regenerate the homes and spaces of the Cambridge Road Estate is an opportunity to deliver the warm, safe and quality homes our residents deserve," Cllr Green said.

She added that less decisive refurbishment of the existing homes on the estate would not go far enough in delivering the overhaul the council have argued is necessary to improve housing on the estate in the long term.

"Refurbishment cannot address the fundamental problems with the homes, buildings and design of the space.

"Nothing else comes close to providing the long-term benefits that regeneration can deliver," Cllr said.

Reiterating previous statements from backers of the proposals, the leader of the council insisted that the ballot was a one-off chance to massively reshape housing in the area and urged residents to take it:

“I don't believe that we’ll have the chance again to increase residents’ standard of living and offer them the opportunity to shape where they live, improve their green spaces, homes and facilities.

"We don’t want to miss this opportunity."

While the council have been eager to stress the potential benefits of the redevelopment, others have voiced concerns about the costs of the plans and the need to demolish existing homes to fulfil them.

The ballot open to all Cambridge Road Estate residents in the following groups:

  • Current social tenants (council or housing association) with secure, assured or introductory tenancies.
  • Named leaseholders or freeholders who have lived in their home for 12 months.
  • Other residents, living on the Cambridge Road Estate who have been named applicants on the housing register for 12 months.

It is being run by the independent Civica Election Services (CES), who said they would post an official confirmation letter to announce the result "approximately one week after the close of voting on March 18".