GLA MEMBER CALLS FOR MAYOR TO PUBLISH SPORTS CENTRE PLANNING BRIEFS
“Mayor imposing one flawed grand project after another on Crystal Palace”
(GLA sports centre plans slammed – part six)
BORIS JOHNSON is being asked to make public the planning briefs given to consultants who have put forward options for the National Sports Centre and the wider Crystal Palace area.
London Assembly Green Party member Darren Johnson says he has made the call after being lobbied by people in the area.
“I’ve heard from countless angry residents who feel that the Mayor is imposing one flawed grand project after another on them, with no coherent vision for Crystal Palace Park or the wider area.
“He should publish the briefs he is giving to consultants to reshape the area, and come clean about how plans to demolish the athletics facilities, build a major commercial development on the park’s hill top, and regenerate the area relate to one another.
“The Mayor could get much more done in the area, and win the support of energetic and talented residents and businesses, if he backed a community-led approach.
“For example, he could support the plans for a new Neighbourhood Forum, which could review his various plans and develop a more coherent plan.”
Darren Johnson, who has also called on the Mayor to review his general approach to the Crystal Palace area following theNSC and other projects; the proposed commercial development on Crystal Palace Park by ZhongRong Group, and other plans from the GLA and TfL, is tabling the following written questions at Mayor’s question time next Wednesday (19th November):
Disjointed approach to Crystal Palace
Question No: 2014/4228
Constituents have told me that they feel under siege from a number of disjointed proposals you are leading in the Crystal Palace area, including: the plans from the ZhongRong Group to build a large commercial development on the park hill top, your plans to demolish the athletics facilities and build a free school in the middle of the park, the study you commissioned to look at regeneration opportunities in some areas adjacent to the park, your proposal that the wider area be designated a Strategic Outer London Development Centre in the Further Alterations to the London Plan, the short-term improvements to the park that you are part-funding following the collapse of the Heritage Lottery Fund bid, and TfL’s possible long-term aspiration to extend the Tramlink to the area. Beyond a superficial level, these plans do not appear to be joined up, local stakeholders are not being involved at an early stage to develop a coherent vision for the park and wider area, and important information such as the options appraisal for the National Sports Centre has been withheld. Will you take these comments on board and review your approach?
Crystal Palace NSC consultation
Question No: 2014/4229
Will you extend the consultation and dialogue on the future of the National Sports Stadium to February, as requested by Bromley Council? This would enable the options to be considered when there is also clarity about the proposals from the ZhongRong Group to build on the hill top in the park.
Crystal Palace study briefs
Question No: 2014/4230
Will you publish the briefs given to CSM and architecture 00 to make the process more transparent and help constituents understand the work being undertaken?
In their letter to GLA planners, Crystal Palace Green Party members (see separate story), “fully support” Darren Johnson’s call to release the full options appraisal.
“This would be transparent, enable local people to really understand the basis for your proposals, to understand and scrutinise why you believe the ‘do nothing’ option is not viable, and to have the
information from which to develop alternatives.
“So far as we know, there was very little engagement before the consultation was published with local community organisations like the Crystal Palace Park Community Stakeholder Group, the various Crystal Palace area campaign groups, the putative Neighbourhood Forum for the area, the Chamber of Commerce, local councillors, interested and constituency assembly members or MPs.
“What ongoing engagement there has been doesn’t seem to have translated into the proposals, which have clearly upset a lot of people both in detail and the timeline for their implementation.
“This proposal is one of a number of disjointed pieces of work that the GLA is undertaking
for the area. There is also:
• the plans from the ZhongRong Group (ZRG) to build a large commercial development on the park hilltop and its important natural habitats ‘in the spirit of’ the original Crystal Palace, involving the sale on a long lease of a large area of public park land
• your proposal that the wider area be designated a Strategic Outer London Development Centre in the Further Alterations to the London Plan, a proposal which has been shrouded in mystery since it was included in the draft alterations
• the short-term improvements to the park that you are part-funding following the collapse of the Heritage Lottery Fund bid, some of which, as Bromley council has pointed out, would be undone by your NSC proposals
• the study you commissioned to look at regeneration opportunities in some areas adjacent to the park; we note that the brief has again been kept secret, and that the connection between this work, the ZRG proposals, the SOLDC status and the proposals for the NSC are unclear, causing confusion and anxiety locally
• and TfL’s possible long-term aspiration to extend the Tramlink to the area, which the Mayor has repeatedly promised but which remains absent both from TfL’s business plan and the Mayor’s Infrastructure Plan up to 2050.
“We are concerned that proposals such as those for the NSC are now being shaped with a view to facilitating the ZRG building on the hilltop in the park, hence the variation from the Masterplan, the secrecy and the unseemly rush.
“The GLA does not appear to be ‘joining the dots’ between these different proposals, to build on the Masterplan and further develop a coherent vision for the local area.
“The Crystal Palace community wants the GLA to be actively involved in the area, supporting initiatives such as the Neighbourhood Forum in order to overcome some of the problems which we face living on the borders of five boroughs.
“There is a strong desire for bringing regeneration to the area, but not through grand projects and sham consultations that ignore or trample over what is already here.
“This consultation, on top of the shambolic and shameful ZRG proposals, is squandering that
opportunity and turning positivity and goodwill into fear and enmity towards the GLA.
“With the additional proposed hotel and retail development the the top of the park, this proposal removes yet more parkland from public access and leisure use.
“Moving the tennis courts will result in the loss of trees which do not seem to be replaced in the plans. “There are doubtless other impacts on the flora and fauna in the park, which should be properly studied and avoided.”