CRYSTAL PALACE PARK: ARE WE BEING SHORT-CHANGED? ASK GREEN PARTY
“Lambeth pulled in almost £1 million for parks through section 106 agreements.”
Bromley council are spending just five per cent of their parks budget on Crystal Palace – even though it makes up about 11 pc of the borough’s total land area of parks, say Green party campaigners.
Figures revealed by a Green party Freedom of Information Act request show Bromley spent about £550k on the park last year, which was five per cent of its total parks and open spaces budget for the year.
“They also received lots of income and other funding, so if you deduct that then the net spend was £287k, which again is about five pc of the net parks and open spaces budget for the whole of Bromley” say Crystal Palace Greens on their website.
“By comparison, the size of Crystal Palace park is about 11pc of the total land area of parks in the borough. “Are we being short-changed?” they ask.
“The average cost of the park over the past five years was £490k per year. “With an estimated 1.7 million visitors a year (according to the Masterplan business case) that works out at 29p per visitor – which we think is an absolute bargain.
“Last year Bromley was forced to contribute £401,000 to the Lea Valley Regional Park. “So they gave almost twice as much to a park that extends from north east London into Hertfordshire as its net spend on Crystal Palace Park.
“Politicians from all parties in Bromley have joined with colleagues from across London to ask for this levy to be reformed. “Why should we all pay for a park miles to the north, when there are regional parks closer to home that could really do with the money?”
Crystal Palace Greens, in a statement on their website, are calling for people to lobby for the Lea Valley regional park levy to be replaced with a scheme to put money into regional parks across London, which could include Crystal Palace Park as part of the Green Chain
“If we want to see further investment in the park, there are lots of ways the council could raise the funds without permitting a huge commercial building on the hill top. “Here are a few options we like:
- Re-apply for the £4.5 million of Heritage Lottery Fund money which fell through when the ZhongRong plans were announced.
- Lobby the GLA for more direct funding – Burgess Park in Southwark won £2 million with match-funds of £4 million for a major revamp in 2012.
- Really support community-led initiatives that could win funding for projects such as restoring the terraces, keeping the dinosaurs in a good state of repair, and re-opening the subway.
- Set-up a Community Land Trust for Crystal Palace and as it grows direct some of its revenue towards projects in the park.
(Community Land Trusts involve communities taking control and transforming the future of their local community. They are non-profit, community-based organisations run by volunteers that develop housing, workspaces, community facilities or other assets that meet the needs of the community, are owned and controlled by the community and are made available at permanently affordable levels.)
“There are also other options that are bound to more controversial, such as:
- More commercial revenue, for example hosting concerts in the bowl again – would there be commercial demand, and would people mind the temporary noise and park closures?
Get more contributions from property developers to parks generally – Lambeth pulled in almost £1 million for parks through section 106 agreements.
NEW GLA SURVEY ON PARK
The release of the figures comes as the Greater London Authority completes YET ANOTHER survey on what people want in the park.
News From Crystal Palace understands that the £2 million which the GLA have decided to spend in the park is the same amount they were prepared to put in before the Heritage Lottery Fund bid went belly-up because of Chinese billionaire M r Ni’s plans for the hill top / top site.
The GLA’s ‘ interim project list’ is the same set out in the original Masterplan; the same set out two years ago at a community park conference – and the same as the HLF bid.
One campaigner said: “All these had been subject to public consultation. “Surveys had been conducted, questionnaires filled in, meetings held, runes cast, seaweed hung from fences.
“The response and preferences expressed by the community were broadly the same as set out in the original Masterplan. “They still are.
“Current responses are running at 560+ with renovation of the heritage assets, bringing the bowl back into life, and landscaping leading the list. “The priorities haven’t changed.
“Despite this, the GLA insisted on another survey. “Most of us just want to start spending the money to stop the park falling apart.”
A BOOKLET produced by the GLA asking people to list their priorities in the June survey on where the £2.4 million should be spent offered the following options – and the time they would take. Numbers refer to the option number in the booklet.
QUICK (less than three months)
(see also 11 under ‘Medium’)
Remove turnstiles from central axis
Demolish turnstiles and buildings, and resurface pathways.
Better links between the upper and lower park; Removing dilapidated elements.
At this stage the costs are not confirmed
5: STATION SQUARE AND CAPEL MANOR FARM ENTRANCE
Enhance the gateway to the park and provide a new entrance to the popular Capel
Much improved arrival in park / Better access to a major park attraction / Builds on the improvements to the station.
Landscaping and future maintenance costs yet to be fully identified.
6: CONSERVING SPHINXES
Conserving sphinxes and south terrace steps
Restore the six sphinx statues, remodelling the missing sections, and replacing earlier repairs with more appropriate conservation. Additionally, rebuilding and repairs of the partially collapsed South Terrace granite steps, one of the flights of steps at the south end of the terraces.
Costs have already been identified.
The areas around the sphinxes may need further investment to make the setting suitable for viewing.
9: CRYSTAL PALACE PARADE RAILINGS
Conserving Park railings on Crystal Palace Parade
Restoring and conserving the last remaining sections of original cast iron park railings.
Remove the railings from the Heritage at Risk register
Future maintenance costs yet to be fully identified.
10: CONCERT PLATFORM
Renovate concert platform to be suitable as a functioning venue
Return the concert platform to a functioning venue, making way for more events in the park. There is significant community interest in using the concert platform for community events and the improvements here have the potential to generate an income for the park, as well as increase the park’s cultural output.
Increase the events programme in the park
Future management of the facility needs to be considered , and second stage may indicate no funding for management
12b: MOBILE VISITORS CENTRE
Option 2: Create temporary mobile visitors’ centre
Create a temporary visitor’s centre designed to be located in different areas of the park. Successful examples include the Waterloo mobile market stall.
The structure can adapt to future changes in the park. Allows cost effective displays and
More work needs to be undertaken to clarify costs, future use, and management requirements.
13: ACCESS TO MUSEUM FROM PARK SIDE
Enable access-for-all to the Crystal Palace museum
Create access to the museum from the park side, allowing wheelchair users and those without full mobility to access the collection. With the museum’s consent, the project could be combined with a revenue project seeking grant funding to increase access to objects that relate to the Crystal Palace.
This could be achieved through an online digital archive or a temporary/touring exhibition which brings objects from national and local archives to the public in the surrounding areas.
Suitable access to all who want to visit the museum
Further work is needed to identify the best solution.
MEDIUM (three to six months)
1: PARKING AREA BACK TO PARKLAND
Return parking area in central area to parkland
Involves: taking the central section of the park and removing one of the large unused surface carparks, and replacing with grass.
Much more flat open space in the park / Significant visual changes to the park
Future parking needs and accessibility for events, activities, and the National Sports
Centre will need to be carefully thought out. Further parking enforcement may be required to prevent commuter parking.
4: PENGE ENTRANCE IMPROVEMENTS
Improve the link between Penge town centre and the park by re-organising the Penge
entrance and improve parking layout. New railings will be added and the brick wall will be taken down to give the park prominence in its local surroundings.
Encourage footfall between Penge High Street and the park, in addition to encouraging transition between the park’s other neighbouring High Street.
Significant investment in this area only 10 years ago
7: PAXTON BASIN (the old flamingo pond)
Conserving the Paxton basin and improving surroundings
Conserve the last remaining fountain basin from the original design for the park, and introduce nearby seating adjacent to Capel Manor farm, opening up an area of the park which is currently closed to the public.
An isolated part of the park becomes integrated into the rest of the park, and the area around the farm feels safer.
Costs not confirmed at this stage.Ongoing maintenance costs will need to be considered, along with any costs associated with park infrastructure such as lighting and CCTV cameras.
8: DINOSAUR MODELS
The sculptures of dinosaurs and other extinct animals are physically in poor condition with extensive cracking, crumbling, loss of parts such as heads, feet, tails. This project will fund an official condition survey to identify needed repairs and plan conservation work.
Conserving the area’s only Grade 1 Heritage asset; and provides a springboard for engagement,
interpretation and research on these iconic, world famous sculptures for the Friends of Crystal Palace Dinosaurs (cpdinosaurs.org)
Restoration and future maintenance plans depend on this survey but further costs yet to be fully identified.
11: ELEVATED WALKWAY
Pop up activity on the elevated walkway
The elevated walkway would become a sociable area of the park through repairs to the balustrade, park seating and top dressing. A programme of events and activities will play-out over the year, following the format of successful examples like the National Theatre forecourt.
The elevated walkway will become more of a sociable, vibrant part of the park rather than being little more than an access route
Temporary nature of the events may not be perceived as value-for-money
12c: RESTORE EXISTING CAFE
Option 3: Restore existing café
Undertake maintenance and refurbishment of the existing park café and explore the possibility of incorporating some visitor services into the space.
Cheaper alternative to building a new facility
Further work is required to identify full costs and to determine the value-for money that this would provide for park users.
14: SKATEBOARD PARK ETC
Community, wheeled sports facility
Construct a community sports facility for skateboarders, BMX riders, scooter and
rollerblade riders of all ages. Initial assessment of demand suggests ideal facility
would be 1000 square metres in size, and placed near Paxton’s Bust.
Significant community interest already expressed
Possible negative perception of skatepark facilities by the public—sensitive design to be developed / Full costs unknown / Not part of the original Masterplan
LONG-TERM (greater than six months)
2: REMOVE CAR PARKING FROM CENTRAL AXIS
Remove car parking from the centre of the park on the approach to the National Sports Centre. Changes may involve moving the remote control racing car track offsite and a reduction in the amount of parking in the park.
Clearer space in the middle of the park, better connections between areas of parkland, increased biodiversity and significant visual changes to the park’s. landscape.
Future parking needs and accessibility for events, activities, and the National Sports Centre will need to be carefully thought out. Further parking enforcement may be required to prevent commuter parking
12a: MOBILE VISITORS CENTRE
Option 1: Rebuild visitors’ centre
Replace the existing visitor’s centre, toilets and café with a new building integrating a
café, toilets, exhibition space and shop, and rooms for community and school activity.
A facility such as this has the potential to generate income for the park, and would
reduce future maintenance costs for visitor facilities.
The facility would have long-term benefits for the park and for local people. Outline planning permission for a similar building in the same footprint already in place.
Cost estimates currently exceed all the available funding This facility doesn’t serve upper part of
15: NEW CYCLE ROUTE
Cycle access from Rockhill entrance
A new cycle route will be created that will allow people to access to the park by bike
from the Sydenham area. Cyclists will be able to link up with safe paths within the
Increase number of journeys to park by bicycle.Improve people access
Further work is needed to identify the best solution. Implementation and future maintenance costs currently not fully known
The survey has now ended for the current June 2014 consultation. But the Community Stakeholder Group says on their website that if you would still like to complete the survey, the information gathered may be used in future decision making. Go to: www.crystalpalacepark.org.uk Recent News: How would you spend £2.4 million on the park?
COMMUNITY PROJECTS FUND
In addition to the GLA’s capital fund, Bromley council is also establishing a fund (about £0.4 million) for community groups to undertake their own projects in the park, say the Community Stakeholder Group.
“The CSG have been lobbying for such a fund for two years. It will give groups wishing to start projects and activities in the park a real chance to secure the money needed to bring these forward.
“We are currently working with Bromley in setting up the application process and drawing up the selection criteria for these awards.
“We are keen to get this fund up and running as soon as we can and see it as crucial in rebooting community involvement with the park. “Further details about the application process will be provided as soon as they have been finalised.”
CRYSTAL PALACE PARK FUNDING
Revenue expenditure £968,376
Commercial revenue -£192,335
Funding received -£79,400
Net balance £696,640
Revenue expenditure £876,531
Commercial revenue -£211,541
Funding received -£4,500
Net balance £660,489
Revenue expenditure £757,953
Commercial revenue- £224,246
Funding received No figure
Net balance £533,707
Revenue expenditure £491,643
Commercial revenue- £221,295
Funding received No figure
Net balance £270,349
Revenue expenditure £547,023
Commercial revenue- £222,906
Funding received -£37,440
Net balance £286,678