KICC HOLDS ‘PRIVATE BRIEFINGS’ OVER RENEWED CHURCH PLANS
“We will only hold two church services a week at 25 Church Road”
KICC – the Pentecostal church which took over the cinema building at 25 Church Road in a secret deal in 2009 – is holding invitation-only private briefings today (Monday) and tomorrow on the premises “for political and community stakeholders”.
The event appears to be the curtain-raiser to KICC attempting to change the building into a church for a second time.
Among those NOT invited to the briefings are the Picture Palace Campaign, set up in the wake of the church taking over the former bingo hall in June 2009.
In October 2009 the fledgling Campaign organised a public protest meeting at the Queens hotel which attracted around 1,000 people – among them Croydon North MP Malcolm Wicks and Bromley council leader Cllr Stephen Carr.
KICC’s latest move will almost certainly see similar public uproar even though the church claims: “We have taken on board all of the comments made by stakeholders and members of the community and have reviewed our plans” and says it wants to create “a sustainable community hub.”
The invitation letter in full says:
25 Church Road regeneration
I am writing to invite you to a private briefing and tour of 25 Church Road. As you will be aware, when KICC The Open Door purchased the site in 2009 from the previous owners, Gala Bingo, the building had been allowed to deteriorate and fall into a state of disrepair.
Since 2009, The Open Door have invested over £2 million in restoring the building and 25 Church Road has now been brought up to modern standards. Following our previous change of use application for the building, we have taken on board all of the comments made by stakeholders and members of the community and have reviewed our plans.
Our vision is to create a sustainable community hub in the heart of the Crystal Palace Triangle, servicing local groups and businesses, as well as using the space for events and functions. We are already in discussion with local organisations such as fitness providers and over 50’s groups who are interested in using the facilities.
As part of this new community offer, we are looking to open a permanent cafe on the site. The Open Door will only hold two church services a week at 25 Church Road, alongside book groups and counselling, with the remaining timetable being available for other local organisations’ use. Over 70 per cent of the Open Door timetable will be made available to the community and local organisations.
We believe that we can deliver a new community hub with a sustainable transport plan that will benefit local residents and the whole of Crystal Palace. Before we submit our application we would like to meet with you at 25 Church Road. We will be hosting tours of the site on 8th and 9th September (10am-4pm) for political and community stakeholders. Members of the project team will be available to answer your questions. I would be grateful if you would RSVP with an hour’s slot on either day that is convenient to you by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you require any further information before then, or if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me. I look forward to meeting you.
Dr Dipo Oluyomi
Pastor, KICC The Open Door
RENEWED KICC PROPOSALS ‘VERY SIMILAR’
One cinema campaigner, posting on Virtual Norwood, says: ” As far as I can see the proposals are very similar to those refused at planning committee in 2009 on the grounds that:
“1. The proposed development, involving the loss of an important entertainment/leisure use within Use Class D2 and the introduction of a mixed use including a place of worship within Use Class D1, would result in a reduction in the range of facilities provided within the town centre detrimental to the proper functioning of the daytime and evening economy and harmful to the social, cultural and economic characteristics of the area, thereby contrary to Policies 3A.18, 3D.1 and 4B.8 of the London Plan.
“2.The nature of the activity associated with a Class D1 use such as a place of worship and the scale of the user means that they are likely to have a wide catchment for its congregation and attract a large number of cars and as a result the development will have a significant adverse impact on the surrounding area in terms of parking demand and pedestrian safety, contrary to Policy T18 of the Unitary Development Plan.
“The only difference it would seem is the nomenclature use i.e community hub.
“This ‘private briefing’ will be used to demonstrate pre-application consultation to support KICC’s planning application for change of use.
“If you have any concerns or otherwise then I would urge you to email your ‘political stakeholders’ i.e. your ward councillors, MP and London Assembly Members before they attend – that is if they are able to at such short notice!
“I would also highlight a few key facts for your consideration:
“KICC need the change of use from D2 ‘assembly and leisure’ to D1 ‘Place of Worship’ to deliver their charitable objects via activities such as religious services, counselling, religious concerts and conferences and to justify their very significant investment in the building.
“The refurbishment of 25 Church Road was completed in early 2012 with a grand opening ceremony and religious business conference for their members from across the South East in August 2012 with spectacular parking and traffic problems.
“This resulted in complaints to both Bromley and TfL and traders noting a significant drop in trade due to the commandeering of parking spaces.
“KICC has had two years to open up the building for community use. “They chose not to. “Instead, they held a number of revenue generating events for their members (many falling outside the lawful D2 planning use) and knowing that because of the religious content they would not require a premises licence.
“It is only since Bromley has questioned those events that KICC has had to bring forward a further planning application.
“Once KICC have planning permission for the premises to be used as a place of worship, there is absolutely nothing which can prevent them from increasing the religious use of the building.
“Also, the content of any events held at the building will need to be approved by the church. “This was made clear when KICC were asked about holding film screenings back at their open day in 2012.
“If that is what people want then that is fine and it is up to locals to take a view and make up their own minds when the planning application goes live.”It may be something that people support and think will contribute to the sustainability of Crystal Palace.
“Personally I find it very sad that when KICC purchased the building in 2009, they took it out of leisure use for the first time in over 80 years. “We already have plenty of churches in the area – do we really need another one?”