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Exciting future for Crystal Palace Park

Exciting times lie ahead for Crystal Palace Park and the National Sports Centre (NSC). The recent consultation exercise held by the London Development Agency (LDA) showed ideas being developed as a result of September 2004’s exhibition in the park which was used to gather the views of local people about what they wanted done to improve the park and the NSC.

LDA takes over March 2006
The LDA takes over the responsibility for the NSC in March next year and is already working on an international design competition for a new regional sports centre to be sited near Crystal Palace Station. If all goes to plan, the new facilities will open in 2010, in time for our elite athletes to train for the Olympics and to be the site of a Training Camp for one or maybe two overseas Olympic Teams in 2012.

The old NSC building will be demolished when the new centre is open, and the site will be landscaped back into the park. Also to go is the athlete’s accommodation in the tower- block, the concrete high-level walkway and car parking in the centre of the park. The LDA estimate that the proposals they are putting forward will create 18 acres of new parkland and that 22 acres of existing parkland, currently inaccessible, will also be opened up.

Controversial funding ideas
Some controversial ideas to assist in funding some of the park improvements include the re-siting of the Caravan Club (perhaps to Stratford in east London) and a small development of mews houses built on the corner of this site known as Rockhills, but allowing 4.2 acres of additional parkland to be opened up. Additional housing (filling the gaps due to bombing in the last war) down Crystal Palace Park Road is also part of the scheme.

Options for Norwood Triangle Gate
The LDA have come up with four options for the Norwood Triangle Gate. These range from a fairly major five-storey housing development and 150 space underground car park, to no new development, apart from a piazza and an extended museum. This area is likely to be the most contentious and hotly discussed part of the whole plan.

125 year lease and £300,000 per year
The LDA is likely to sign a 125 year lease on the park itself sometime between 2006 and 2009, but in the meantime they have budgeted for s300,000 per annum for the coming 3 years for minor park improvements. These could include the site clearance and provision of safe access to the subway and clearing the fly-tipping on the closed lands of the hilltop and thus make them accessible to the public.

If you missed the park exhibition, the Roadshow will be visiting Sydenham on 19/20 November between 10am and 5pm. The venue is yet to be confirmed. A further public consultation is being planned for next summer.

Crystal Palace Park Consultation
The Crystal Palace Park consultation exercise is in full swing, as several members of the Sydenham Society found out when they visited the consultation marquee at the Penge entrance to the park on an unseasonably sunny Sunday morning.

The exhibition space was a hive of activity, with local residents busily filling in questionnaires and discussing the various plans and ideas being presented to them.

The exhibition laid out their vision of a sustainable park with a wide variety of benefits for different groups within the community. Also detailed were different options for developing areas within the park with the relative advantages and disadvantages of each.

This enabled visitors to make informed views about which most effectively balanced the need for commercial viability whilst at the same time retaining parkland and heritage. Encouragingly, the exhibition was hosted by familiar faces from the LDA and the consultants, who are managing the process.

Comments overheard from visitors included:

  • A very professional and clear bright ideas for the sports centre
  • the housing development is surprisingly conservative and in keeping

Whichever options are chosen, it seems that, at long last, the future of Crystal Palace Park looks very bright indeed.

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