Preliminary results from the October exhibition on the future of the park and National Sports Centre (NSC) show a high degree of support for the core principles which constitute the vision for the Park programme.
Most of the options for the park also received general approval. But the possibility of residential building at the Upper Norwood entrance was the main exception to this and the London Development Agency is currently rethinking this part of the proposal. If they decide to go ahead with housing, they will need to work hard to demonstrate the rationale to Bromley’s planning department.
The dilapidated sports centre, with the risible prefix “National”, was on the brink of being closed down in March 2004. The London Olympic bid concentrated the minds of politicians and sports bodies on the lack of international sporting facilities within the capital. The proposal to create a state of the art 21st century sports centre provides the impetus for the regeneration of the whole park. In the build up to the Olympics, the new sports centre, hopefully ready in 2010, will become a focus for elite training and competition in London and a training camp for one of the Olympic teams in 2012.
The timetable is very tight. An international architectural competition for the new NSC and surrounding landscaping is planned for February with the short-listing of entrants in March.
The scheme chosen will be announced in the summer. The proposals will be assessed by September and a planning application submitted to Bromley, the planning authority, by November.
The demolition of the current NSC, a Grade II listed building, will be required since it is not practical to find a further use for it. The land it currently occupies will be landscaped into the park. Sports activities will continue at the NSC while the new centre is being built. The listing of the present NSC does present a difficult hurdle and is currently the subject of negotiation with English Heritage. It is hoped that the outcome will be favourable and that the time taken in providing a satisfactory case will not delay the start of the new building. Public consultations will continue throughout 2006.