Sunday 22 July – Crystal Palace Park
National Sports Centre is to be the HQ for Brazil before Olympics.
Local MP Jim Dowd has welcomed the bid by Crystal Palace FC to build a £40m new home on the existing athletics stadium site in Crystal Palace Park.
Palace’s plans are for a 25,000-seat stadium, which could be expanded to a capacity of 40,000, and includes provision for an indoor aquatics and sports complex as well as a community sports facility on the present Crystal Palace National Sports Centre site. Palace boss steve Parish said “I don’t see how you could ever want a slightly revamped Crystal Palace [a reference to Tottenham FC’s plans for CP] over a new, purpose-built stadium,” said Parish, who would look to raise the money for the stadium by selling Selhurst Park, their current home. “We believe this is a plan that would suit everyone. I have never understood why Crystal Palace wasn’t based in Crystal Palace. There is a sense of logic to this scheme that would build a better future for our club and the local area.”
Local MP Jim Dowd gave a conditional thumbs-up for the plan and said: “Crystal Palace FC is a vital part of the community here in our corner of South East London just asprofessional football clubs are throughout the country. The possibility to return to their original “home” and thus achieve long term security together with providing a sustainable future for the Stadium site is an opportunity thatis unlikely ever to occur again and thus it must be given every chance to succeed. Although there are many legitimate questions to be raised and answered before any progress can be made I am grateful for the openness the Club have shown and for the opportunity I have had to meet with them to discuss the proposal. I hope very much that it is possible to achieve a solution which will benefit the whole area.”
Doug Patterson, the chief executive of the London Borough of Bromley has welcomed Tottenham FC’s plan to revamp the Crystal Palace athletics stadium after the 2012 Games. Spurs would like to demolish the Olympic Stadium and rebuilt it as a football-only home for the club. To provide an athletics legacy – one of the promises made to the by the London 2012 organising committee – Spurs have promised to revamp the south London athletics stadium at Crystal Palace Park.
West Ham FC are also interested in moving into the Olympic Stadium – and would retain its use as an occasional venue for athletics – but the club would have to borrow much of the money.
Alerted by Tottenham’s plan to revamp Crystal Palace stadium, Crystal Palace FC have also expressed an interest in moving from Selhurst Park to Crystal Palace park.
However, Doug Pattterson’s intervention would seem to be a tbumbs-down for CPFC and a warm welcome for Tottenham’s plans.
“The Spurs plans would be positive for the area because I am not sure what else would happen. There are not any other significant plans. Nobody has got the money to spruce up Crystal Palace,” Patterson told The Associated Press on Tuesday. “South Londoners would benefit with the Spurs plans. They would not have any direct benefit from the West Ham plans.”
Crystal Palace FC tried to move into the athletics stadium about ten years ago but opposition from local councils and local residents scuppered the plan.
Tottenham FC will offer a 20,000-seat redevelopment of Crystal Palace as the legacy component of their bid to occupy the Olympic stadium after the 2012 Games.
Spurs are bidding against West Ham for the arena, and want to demolish the £500 million 85,000-seat stadium and rebuild a 60,000 football ground from scratch without a running track.
With West Ham promising to retain the athletics track in a mixed-use community based stadium, Tottenham’s plan falls well short of the athletics legacy promised by the 2012 Olympic bid.
But while West Ham remain the first choice of many stakeholders, doubts over the financial strength of their offer have increased in recent weeks, and senior figures in government and the Olympic project are now open to the athletics legacy lying outside the stadium.
Photo coutesy of diamond geezer http://www.flickr.com/photos/dgeezer/271726811
The first fireworks display at the park took place on July 12 1865 when two rival firework companies competed to show off their wares. One hundred and forty five years later why not join spectators at Crystal Palace for a traditional fireworks event on the evening of the 5th November?
Gates open 6pm
Children’s Display (aimed at children or those of a sensitive disposition!) 7pm
Main display 8pm
Adults (14 years plus) £5
Children (5 to 13 years £3
Children under 5 free
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.
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.
There is still an opportunity to comment on the Masterplan and time for local park users to send in observations to Bromley Council about the proposals, favourable or otherwise. These will form part of the report to the Planning Committee in the late Autumn. Comments should be sent to Bromley Council, Civic Centre, Stockwell Close, Bromley, BR1 3UH or to firstname.lastname@example.org quoting 07/03897/OUT.
National Sports Centre
Refurbishment works continue at the National Sports Centre (NSC). A number of new items have been discovered including additional asbestos and problems with tiles in the main pool. The cost of removing the asbestos amounts to Â£4.2m. These works are likely to extend the schedule a little but disruption has been minimised. Most major events planned at the NSC have been accommodated within the available facilities, or have been postponed until the building is ready. Meanwhile the relocation of the gym to another building at Crystal Palace has meant that membership of the centre has actually increased. The London Development Agency (LDA) has also made additional funds available to increase the size of the main pool to FINA Olympic standards and to carry out cosmetic work in some areas of the centre. These extra works will be completed alongside the refurbishment and are not expected to extend the schedule. The NSC is due to re-open in September.
Olympic Training Camp bid
The NSC has been included in the London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games’ list of training venues for a wide variety of sports. The Pre-Games Training Camp Guide will be sent to all Olympic and Paralympic teams inviting them to base themselves at the different facilities. Sports at the NSC include: archery, athletics, swimming, diving, synchronised swimming, badminton, basketball, boxing, fencing, trampoline, handball, judo, modern pentathlon, table tennis, triathlon, indoor volleyball, weightlifting and wrestling.
Events at Crystal Place Park
Despite an offer of increased grant funding from the LDA the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra has decided not to proceed with a further season of concerts as they feel the financial risk for them is too great. The Norwich Union Athletics Grand Prix will go ahead as normal and the London Youth games will also take place but some events will be transferred elsewhere due to continued asbestos removal at the NSC (see above). A Pyrotechnic Spectacular, not associated with 5 November, is also planned for later in the year.
Girl Guides Public Art Project
The Girl Guide movement began in Crystal Palace Park in 1909 and to celebrate their centenary the Girl Guide movement will be applying to Bromley Council for permission to restore the Maze by re-establishing the hedging and to introduce a permanent interaction art feature within the maze. Prior to submitting the application they will be holding public workshops with the local community as part of the consultation process.
Capel Manor College
Capel Manor Farm is open to the public from 12.00 – 4.00 weekends and between 10.30 – 2.00 and 2.00 – 4.00 during the week. It is closed on Wednesdays. Capel Manor is an educational and teaching facility and teaches animal husbandry, arboriculture and horticulture to 300 students.
Since the plans for a 20 screen Multiplex cinema on the top site of Crystal Palace Park were withdrawn in May 2001 the future of the English Heritage Grade ll* park has been widely debated. Owned by Bromley since the demise of the Greater London Council, the park became very run down, and Bromley clearly did not have the capital or the revenue funding to repair and maintain the important features which give the park its listed designation.
In late 2003, Sport England announced that it was not prepared to renew its Lease on the 40-year old National Sports Centre (NSC) as it was no longer fit for purpose. With no money to upgrade this facility Bromley gave notice that the NSC would close for good in March 2004.
With London preparing to launch a bid for the 2012 Olympic Games, and with a lack of sports facilities throughout London the necessity of retaining a refurbished NSC as a training facility for elite athletes was obvious. The London Development Agency (LDA), the development and regeneration arm of the Greater London Authority, stepped in to take over the operating costs of the NSC and to work towards a Masterplan for the regeneration of the park as a whole.
Since March 2004 the LDA has engaged with local residents in what has been a long and, at times, tortuous dialogue. There have been two major consultations held within the park and a major exhibition in the old booking hall at Crystal Palace station to coincide with the submission of the Masterplan proposals to Bromley, last November.
The Sydenham Society has taken part in the dialogue process and Pat Trembath, on behalf of the Society, has attended the Park Working Group which has met regularly since 2002 to discuss, originally with Bromley and then with the LDA and its team of design consultants, the future shape of the park. Regular reports on the process have been carried in the newsletter over the past five years and information about the consultations and exhibitions has been provided and members have been encouraged to see the ideas for themselves. On September 18, last year, on the eve of the proposals being submitted to Bromley, the Society held a public meeting at which the Park Project Manager for the LDA, Roger Frith, gave a presentation to interested members and answered questions.
The Masterplan, some 10,000 pages long, with environment, traffic and sustainability impact statements and Business Plan is a daunting document. It can be found on the Crystal Palace Park website. The plans are very ambitious and may not all come to fruition. To regenerate the park will cost between Â£40m – Â£67m, certainly money that Bromley cannot even contemplate affording on one park within its borough.
Members of the Executive of the Sydenham Society have yet to discuss the Society’s formal response to the Masterplan. Overall our initial feelings are to welcome the plans for the park. There are concerns which we will register particularly about the proposals for housing on the Rockhills (Caravan Club) site.
The park is Metropolitan Open Land and the surrounding area has Conservation Area status. The decision about the suitability of any and all of the proposals will need to be taken, initially by Bromley as the Planning Authority, and ultimately by the Planning Inspectorate, as it is anticipated that there is likely to be a public inquiry. The LDA has said that if planning permission is granted it will take a 125-year lease on the Park and will seek out a suitable form of park governance. If permission is not granted the park will remain the responsibility of Bromley.
The consultation period has started and officially runs for 42 days, although Bromley has stated that it will continue to take comments and objections until early summer. Individual comments about the plans can be made to Bromley Council, Civic Centre, Bromley BR1 3UH, quoting 07/03897/OUT.