Planning brief to help shape future of Kneller Hall

Release Date: 29 September 2017

The future use of the Kneller Hall in Whitton, home to the Royal Military School of Music, will form part of a new Supplementary Planning Document, the Council announced today.

Last year, the Ministry of Defence (MoD), who own the site, announced their decision to sell the site as part of a wider estates disposal plan. At the time, the Council expressed concern and disappointment that a site of such key national, cultural and military heritage could be sold off.

Specifically, the Council is concerned about the loss of green, open space. The site consists of a mansion, with large parts designated as Metropolitan Open Land, giving it the same protection as a green belt site. Since the announcement, the Council has given legal protection to over 300 trees on the site. This includes oak, lime and horse chestnut. This protection will ensure that they are protected in any development.

Now, the Council has received funding from the Local Government Association to create a Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) for the site. This would ensure that any future development on the site can as far as possible meet community needs.

Over the next few months the Council will work with the Ministry of Defence to look at the scope of the SPD. It will then carry out consultation and engagement with residents, businesses and local groups to establish what their priorities would be for the site.

Cllr Pamela Fleming, Richmond Council Cabinet Member for Environment, Business and Community, said:

“We need to do all we can to ensure when Kneller Hall closes that this historic site is used in a way that benefits the local community, this is a once in a lifetime unique opportunity. We need to make sure that the history of the site and open space is protected.

“We will be working with the Ministry of Defence to create a planning document that any future developer of the site would need to have reference to. To create this we will work together with residents to form a strong, well-researched view of the most appropriate way for the site to be used.”

Notes for editors

If you are a journalist and would like further information about this press release, contact Elinor Firth on 020 8487 5159.

Reference: P448/17

Updated: 2 October 2017