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Award-winning Ryder Architecture practice to lead Kingston’s Social Spaces project

By Georgia L Howell Feb 1, 2023
3 Planters sit in the sunshine.The Kingston social spaces project aims to bring more green spaces and seating to the town. Credit: Kingston First.

Following positive feedback from residents, visitors and businesses, Ryder Architecture will be heading up Kingston’s Social Spaces project.

The project will see Ryder working with businesses and local communities to develop plans for permanent seating and green spaces in place of the temporary installations.

Kingston’s Social Spaces project is managed by Kingston First which works to make streets more attractive, welcoming and accessible to visitors to Kingston to enjoy, and to create a better atmosphere for local businesses.

Sign reading Social spaces sitting in a bed of Greenery overlooking the town.
The Social Spaces project that was started in 2021. Credit: Kingston First.

The first design proposals are expected at the end of March. Ryder Architecture will be working with the Kingston community to get feedback and develop design options that benefit the community.

Introduced in 2021, the project originally introduced temporary planting and seating in Thames Street, Lower Fife road and Station Plaza.

Local architect Davies White worked on the pilot of the scheme which some locals say “improved the mood” of the town.

Kingston University student Davina Lushnek said: “I really like the planters, especially the ones near the station, it is nice to have some green against the grey of the town and I think it could be helpful for the air pollution too.”

Some residents have criticised the scheme, suggesting the council need to focus on other things, like increasing the amount of bins in the area and improving disabled parking spaces.

Luke Dophine, who moved to Kingston ten years ago said: “If I walk to Kingston centre, the journey lasts around two miles but there are now no bins on my route and if I do ever pass a bin its overflowing.

“Why can’t the council get the small things right first before they invest in huge projects like this?”

A statement from Kingston First said that “feedback will be incorporated into the final design proposals and this will involve a series of voluntary drop-in sessions for the local community to ensure that this project benefits the whole community.”

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