FIVE THOUSAND SIGN CINEMA PETITION – AS CHURCH ROAD TRADERS START THEIR OWN
“No evidence of increased footfall as a result of KICC events already held – businesses already impacted by KICC vehicles ignoring parking regulations” .
MORE THAN FIVE THOUSAND people have now signed the petition objecting to renewed plans to change the former cinema at 25 Church Road in Crystal Palace to a church, conference and counselling centre with D2 add-on – in just 12 days.
The target has been reached as traders in Church Road have organised their own petition against the plans – and Dulwich and West Norwood MP Tessa Jowell has written to Bromley council highlighting concerns of her constituents over them. (see separate story)
Andy Stem, proprietor of Bambino’s at 30-32 Church Road said “The historic building at 25 Church Road holds the key to the financial viability of the Crystal Palace Triangle and surrounding areas.
“We, the traders in Church Road, together with the other businesses and the Crystal Palace community, urge Bromley council to exercise wisdom and decide to refuse the KICC application.
“As traders, we understand what will support our businesses’ success and this building must retain exclusive D2 use to unlock the full economic potential of Crystal Palace and this part of south east London”
In a statement the traders say Crystal Palace district centre and Church Road in particular have struggled with regards to commercial viability for many years.
“The hard work of the local traders, together with the innovative support of the local community (Overground festival, international film festival, Crystal Palace food market and many other initiatives) has begun to pay off and the district centre is beginning to develop and thrive.
“The independent shops, restaurants, pubs and markets are beginning to attract visitors from all over London.
Traders are particularly concerned that KICC’s events will not have any economic benefit for their businesses and indeed will negatively impact them.
“They have seen no evidence of increased footfall as a result of the events already held by KICC.
“Businesses have already been impacted by the disregard of parking regulations by KICC vehicles in Church Road during these events such as parking on double yellow lines and in loading and disabled bays.
“KICC vehicles have also parked on their private forecourts, impeding customers and suppliers.
“The loss of district centre parking spaces during the hours of the proposed D1 services will clash with Sunday trading hours and have a detrimental effect on trade.
“Furthermore traders in Church Road are disappointed that they were not invited to KICC’s recent Open Day despite the church’s claims in their planning application’s Community Involvement document that all the local residents and traders were invited.
“As local businesses they are concerned that KICC have not been compelled to obtain a licence for their events so far and that the investigation into whether they should pay business rates for a building that clearly had not been used for charitable purposes has not progressed.
“The proposed “change of use” for 25 Church Road, SE19 2TE would cause the loss of the only remaining dedicated and valuable community facility in Crystal Palace within the D2 use class.
“KICC have provided little evidence to demonstrate any serious commitment to the D2 components of the proposals or any serious local interest and need which could not be met and better served through existing community venues.
“In view of the proposal not being for the good of the entire local community, there is little or no support in the local community for the project.
“The development would have a negative impact on transport and parking in the local area. “Church Road is already very congested and the problem will be exacerbated by a congregation of up to 450 people amassing at the venue twice weekly.
“In view of there only being two car parking spaces on site, the rest of the congregation will have to park in streets adjacent to Crystal Palace, resulting in parking chaos.
“But if the site remained a D2 venue, events would be staggered throughout the week and a ‘bottle neck’ situation would not arise on any one day, thus avoiding extreme local congestion.
“Moreover, there is mention of public transport being required to bring people from outside the local area which gives the impression there are not numbers locally to support a church. “Furthermore local bus services are already over-subscribed.
“There is no need for further places of worship in the local area. “There is already a place of worship diagonally opposite the site.”