A planning application has been received by Richmond Council by one of the 'Super-Landlords' of Kew who own the retail space around Kew Gardens station.
The application, for the Kew Bookshop site, would see the charming wooden building demolished and replaced with brick, with only the shop-front façade remaining, a new level built on top and a doubling of the retail space.
The Liberal Democrats have formally requested of planning officials that the application be brought before the Planning Committee.
Kew Lib Dem campaigners Councillor J-F Burford, Catrin Mogilner and Leon Sosnowski said:
"This is a terrible threat to our wonderful Kew village.
"If this application were to go ahead, the bookshop would be lost. A small independent business like that could not afford what would be the massively increased rent for a luxury new development.
"It’s short-sighted, it’s cynical and it must not happen."
Isla Dawes, the owner of The Kew Bookshop,said: "The charm of these buildings is their wooden structure. They have stood for almost a century. If the shop was reclad, it would stand for another hundred years."
Robin Meltzer added: "It would only be the start; an awful precedent would be set. The Super-Landlords will come back for more. First, it will no doubt be the next building along and then the next. Before long, only the big chains and estate agents who can afford the high rents will move into Kew, destroying its village character for ever."
The book shop building, which is classified as being of Townscape Merit, is described in the Kew Conservation Area statement as "remarkable".
One month to save Kew village
The Lib Dems have urged residents to object to the plans, before 1st June 2014, using the Council’s formal planning process. They have also launched a petition which calls for "the retention of The Kew Bookshop" and voices strong opposition to the planning application "and any other plan by the Super-Landlords of Kew that would change Kew Village into a retail environment of chain stores and multi-national firms."
Residents can object on the council website at: http://tinyurl.com/kewbookshop
or by writing to the Council, quoting planning reference 14/1452/FUL, at:
London Borough of Richmond upon Thames