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Crystal Palace National Sports Centre

On Saturday, 14 May, Pat Trembath, Ruth Locke, Emma Blagg and Kathleen Towler attended the main group meeting of the Crystal Palace Park dialogue process, facilitated by the Environment Council and Nigel Westaway & Associates on behalf of the London Development Authority (LDA).

Top quality facilities
The LDA will take responsibility for the sports centre in 2006 and, potentially, for the park as a whole by 2009. The LDA are committed to providing top quality sports and leisure facilities in the capital as they know how much this can do to boost health and regenerate neighbouring areas.

Mayor of London lends a hand
The National Sports Centre receives nearly a million visits a year and is the focus for many London and national sports bodies. But parts of the park are in poor condition and the sports centre will need major works within the next few years if it is to keep running. That’s why Mayor of London Ken Livingstone and the LDA have stepped in to help secure the future of the sports facilities and to see how the park can be rejuvenated and made an even more vibrant place than it is today. They want to help the park fulfil its founding principles of being a place for education and recreation and for promoting commerce, industry and the arts. The LDA want to do this in a way that not only has local backing, but will also benefit communities around the park.

Olympic hopefuls training
We are delighted that London will host the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. The LDA is committed to regenerating the sports facilities in Crystal Palace Park in particular to make them accessible for the local community, so our budding Olympic hopefuls will have somewhere decent to train. And one lucky Olympic team will have a state of the art training facility in Crystal Palace in 2012.

Exciting proposals
One of the most ambitious and exciting proposals for the park is a combined indoor/outdoor sports facility. The proposed new indoor sports facility would be located near the edge of the park and integrated with the existing athletics stadium. It consolidates the car parking and access roads and would involve demolishing the existing ugly, raised walkway.

A new indoor athletics area beneath the west stand of the stadium would be created and the current National Sports Centre building would either be demolished or released for other uses.

Cons…

  • Potential loss of listed building
  • Extensive works while new facilities are built

Pros…

  • Uses space efficiently and cuts back on the amount of space used
  • Fully integrates Sports Centre, Stadium and Park Landscape, allowing better promotion of Crystal Palace as an International Sports Venue Provides the possibility to provide other sport and community uses, such as a health centre, creating more revenue
  • New building provides continuous provision of sports facilities during construction and maintains jobs
  • It will be located nearer public transport and roads with shorter access roads through the park
  • It opens up centre of park or releases National Sports Centre for other uses
  • It is a holistic approach providing a new vision for Crystal Palace and may attract other funding

Reviewing the options
The purpose of the meeting on 14 May was to review a range of draft options for the park which a smaller Task group, including Pat Trembath, has been working on since December 04.

It was compiled by using, as a base, all of the comments that were received during the public consultation at the end of 2004, as well as other reports generated previously by the dialogue process. The draft proposals were then voted on during the meeting and the results of this will be fed into a draft Planning Framework.

Benchmark for future applications
The Planning Framework is a document against which any future planning applications are judged. The proposals for Crystal Palace are being developed to support the long term improvement of the park and its sports and other facilities. They will also be an important contributor to the regeneration of the wider area.
The Planning Framework is being prepared and will provide a context for these proposals and help ‘flesh out’ some of the details. It will provide specific guidelines on issues such as use, urban design and townscape. All work will have to take proper account of planning, building listing and other legislation, policy and guidance.

Public Consultation in October
The draft Planning Framework will be presented by the LDA to Bromley Council (the owners and planning authority) by September. This will form part of a public consultation, currently scheduled to take place within the Park in two locations – the top and bottom – during October, when various options and their financial drivers (i.e. commercial requirements to make each possible) will be put out to Public Consultation as part of the Planning process

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