MONDAY DEADLINE FOR CHURCH OBJECTIONS – “Last opportunity you may get” warn cinema campaign
MONDAY is the final deadline to object to a planning appeal which, if successful, would see the cinema building at 25 Church Road used for church services.
The Picture Palace Campaign, in an open email, say: “This is the last opportunity to make our voices heard, yet again, regarding KICC’s proposals to turn the last remaining dedicated D2 leisure venue in Crystal Palace district centre into a place of worship.
“Kingsway International Christian Centre (KICC) The Open Door have lodged an appeal against the refusal of planning permission involving the change of use of 25 Church Road from use class D2 (assembly and leisure) to mixed-use comprising class D1 (place of worship, conference and non-residential religious education and training centre) and Class D2 (assembly and leisure) use.
“Any comments you made to Bromley council regarding KICC’s proposals at the planning application stage (back in January) will have already been sent to the Planning Inspector who is dealing with the appeal.
“You should have received a letter from Bromley council. “But we are asking everyone to submit a further representation to the Planning Inspectorate in support of Bromley council’s refusal of ‘change of use’. “The deadline for comments is 5pm Monday 16 November.
“Please make a quick objection to the Planning Inspectorate. “You don’t need to say much, just please register your opposition to their appeal. “Of course, you can say more if you want to.
“We fully support Bromley council’s decision to refuse ‘change of use’
“KICC’s planning statement of case (grounds for appeal) states that their proposals for mixed use of 25 Church Road provide the best hope for the building to be regularly used and maintained for entertainment and, of being regularly accessed by a diverse range of people in the community.
“We disagree in the strongest possible terms. “Actions speak louder than words
“KICC have had over three years, since the formal opening for their members in August 2012, to develop and deliver a regular programme of D2 events at the building. “They have chosen not to, despite the building having an existing D2 planning use.
“The building has stood mainly empty and unused, day in, day out, night in, night out, contributing very little to the vitality, viability and economy of our district centre and offer for local people.
“KICC have a legal obligation, as a registered religious charity, to place the promotion of Christianity at the centre of its actions and operations – rather than focus its time and resources on running a large public entertainment venue, open to all and offering an appealing mix of public entertainment.
“If KICC’s desire was to allow for continued leisure and assembly use of the building when not in use as a place of worship, they would have proposed this as part of their original planning application in 2009 and not gone on to refurbish the building as a replica of their church in Walthamstow.
“The ‘mixed-use’ appeal proposals are simply aimed at overcoming the previous and entirely valid reasons for refusal provided by the council (in respect of the 2009 application) in order to fulfil KICC’s primary objective – to use the premises as a Class D1 place of worship with associated church related activities as they originally intended.
“This would undoubtedly be the predominant use should the appeal be granted.
“Crystal Palace is best served by retaining 25 Church Road’s exclusive D2 Public assembly and leisure use and restoring a cinema there providing local entertainment for the benefit of the whole community regardless of background or belief – a use that would make a major contribution to supporting the economic vitality and viability of our town centre.
“Please spare five minutes of your time to make your views known on KICC’s appeal now. “This is the last opportunity you may get.”
IN THEIR appeal document, planning consultants acting for KICC – “an independent charismatic evangelical Pentecostal church” – make much of how much money their clients have spent on the building – despite being refused permission to turn the building into a church back in 2009.
They argue no cinema use has taken place in the building for 47 years, say KICC are in “discussions” with an unnamed commercial cinema operator and that negotiations are taking place with More2Screen – a cinema events operator – to stage live screenings of opera ballet and other theatrical performances.
The consultants again fail to address where their Wimbledon-based congregation would park. (Parts of Crystal Palace park – their original choice – are now blocked to traffic following a travellers’ invasion earlier this year.)
They also neglect to mention there are several other Pentecostal churches in the immediate area – one in St Aubyn’s Road, two meeting at Upper Norwood Methodist church).
They also ignore the continued vociferous demand for a cinema in Crystal Palace.
Please make your representation online at www.planningportal.gov.uk or
Email your representation to: [email protected]