Caroline Shah says proposed Canbury flats will devastate Richmond Park

By Sam Blitz
December 9 2019, 13.30

Caroline Shah believes Richmond Park will be completely ruined by a proposed plan to build new flats in Kingston.

A former strategy consultant born in Hounslow West, Ms Shah, 58, is running an independent campaign against the planned construction of high-rise flats in Kingston, which she predicts will have a devastating impact on the constituency’s popular park.

The 25-storey building in Canbury Ward could increase Kingston’s population by 132,000 people and worsen the problems which exist in the park, which include littering, trampling on tree roots and the threat to lives of stag beetles.

“These plans are unsustainable for the park, it’s going to be devastated,” said Ms Shah.

“I don’t think the government is committed to protecting the environment or biodiversity, but a massive development plan instead.

“I think I should get a lot of votes. People should vote for me because I will be the only one that will challenge this.”

Ms Shah also branded the Conservatives as undemocratic in their pushing through of the plans. She claims the Tories only informed 1,321 people in the area about the plans, with the electoral register in Richmond Park containing around 77,000 voters.

“The plans that are happening in Kingston, they’re not democratically approved,” said Ms Shah.

“So few people responded to the Direction of Travel in 2016 which is a vague document at council level.

“All the assessments that they’ve had to do by law, they haven’t done properly. If you look at the environmental or equalities assessment, they’re flawed.”

The independent candidate also criticised the Liberal Democrats, who she believes will go through with the plans despite claiming in their local elections manifesto that they will oppose over-development.

Ms Shah believes this is typical of the Lib Dem election strategy.

She added: “They’re not liberal or democratic. When they get a result they don’t like, it’s everyone up in arms.

“It maddens me that the Liberal Democrats can stand up and call for a referendum result to be reversed and say that’s democratic, when it’s so dictatorial.

“What I’m really worried about is that people in Richmond are voting for them purely because they want to remain in the EU and then in the next ten years they’re going to see the area ruined.”

Read more about what’s important to south west London constituencies in our 24-page General Election preview special.

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