Bromley council plans sub-committee Thursday March 5th 2015.
What follows are some of the other comments made last night.
(See main story: CHURCH PLANS FOR CINEMA BUILDING THROWN OUT – AGAIN “If you put lipstick on a pig it’s still a pig” – councillor)
In the end, it was almost a walkover. Months of campaigning by THE community of Crystal Palace saw KICC’s latest attempt to turn the Granada cinema building at 25 Church Road into a church thrown out.
Alistair Thornton of Simply Planning on behalf of KICC said the proposal was an extension to an earlier scheme for D1 use which was refused on the casting vote of the chairman.
Since that time his clients had spent almost £2 million on the building. There had been objections to the proposal primarily related to a campaign for a cinema. But these were aspirations, said Mr Thornton.
“KICC are the legal owners of the building. “I urge you to decide on planning matters” he told councillors. (They did!). “Aspirations are of little consequence” he declared.
He revealed that council officers had refused to meet with KICC to discuss section 106 matters.*
And it was “extremely disappointing” to see comparable reasons for refusal when the two applications (2009 and the current application) were “notably different.”
“What more are our clients supposed to do?” he asked. (I’m sure you have your own answer to that – Ed.).
Annabel Sidney, on behalf of the Crystal Palace Triangle Planning Group, said local residents and businesses strongly objected to the latest plans. KICC had bought 25 Church Road as a D2 leisure building.
Their transport statement was “fundamentally flawed”. There was room for 3,000 standing in the building. The survey over-estimated how many would travel to the building by public transport, she added.
“Their parking survey relies on parking in Crystal Palace park but fails to recognise that every week the park hosts large events.
“KICC members will displace local people wanting to park as there is already a very high parking strain on the Triangle.”
Cllr Richard Williams (Lab, Crystal Palace ward), speaking as ward member for the area, said he had never known a change of use application generate such objections.
The community wants to continue to have a D2 leisure facility at its heart, he continued.
“If this application is approved it will be a huge blow to the Crystal Palace Triangle. “Change won’t help the local economy – local businesses are already struggling. “Granting this application will be another nail in the coffin.”
Fellow ward member Cllr Angela Wilkins, supporting what Annabel Sidney had said, told the sub-committee she had received 147 personal emails letters or phone calls on the issue.
“All were objections, not one in support. “I’d like to thank the people for taking the time and trouble to contribute.
“I have sympathy with the argument that BME (black and minority ethnic) community are disadvantaged by the planning system.
“But there’s no demand and no need for further places of worship in the area. “But there’s a very clear demand for D2 use.”
If D1 was granted then activities would have to be religious – much more D1 than D2 use.
“We were promised there would be two meeting rooms at the open day. “Now there’s only one.”
Hiring charges would be £50 an hour for the small room and £500 an hour for the main auditorium. Use for the community would be very limited.
“On the open day we were told there was no baptismal font in the building. “Given permission we found a walk-in baptismal pool.”
KICC had held several evenings but not one designed to attract the community. A Watchnight evening had initially been marketed as a religious service but once questions were raised it became a concert – effectively a religious concert, she added.
After chairman Richard Scoates (Con, Darwin) had moved the motion to refuse, seconded by Cllr Simon Fawthrop the vote was taken.
No-one voted against. Including Cllr Peter Dean (Con, Kelsey and Eden Park) who, like Cllr Fawthrop (Con, Petts Wood and Knoll), had been a member of the plans sub-committee when the change of use was considered back in December 2009.
That was when Cllr Dean made the comment “You’re turning a bingo hall into a church – how controversial is that?.”
And if you’re wondering where the phrase about lipstick on a pig comes from:
In 1985 The Washington Post quoted a San Francisco radio host from KNBR-AM remarking “That would be like putting lipstick on a pig” in reference to plans to refurbish Candlestick Park (rather than constructing a new stadium for the San Francisco Giants).
Amazingly, there’s also a Crystal Palace connection to an earlier phrase.
The Baptist preacher Charles Spurgeon (1834–1892) who lived at Westwood on Beulah Hill recorded the variation “A hog in a silk waistcoat is still a hog” in his book of proverbs The Salt-Cellars (published 1887).
Sources: Wikipedia, Norwood Society website – see: Residents past and present by Mrs G.L. Eades 1965
*(Definition: Planning obligations under Section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (as amended), commonly known as s106 agreements, are a mechanism which make a development proposal acceptable in planning terms, that would not otherwise be acceptable – Planning Advisory Service)