NEW SPORTS BODY SLAMS GLA PLANS FOR NSC “Data hopelessly inaccurate” “Seb Coe would not support this” (GLA sports centre plans slammed – part three)
THE DATA initially submitted on use of National Sports Centre facilities is hopelessly inaccurate and paints a false picture of demand, says John Powell, chairman of the Crystal Palace Spoorts Partnership.
“The athletics facilities are actually over-used at times, making the statement that the indoor track, for example, is ‘under-used’.
“And conceptual plans that could remove sports such as diving from the agenda completely are hugely damaging to the futures of hundreds if not thousands of London sportsmen and women.
“The car parks are regularly over flowing weekday evenings when the centre is most busy and at weekends” he argues.
CPSP is an umbrella body formed of a diverse range of local stakeholders working to maintain
multi-sports and leisure facilities at Crystal Palace National Sports Centre and to find better long
term sustainable solutions for the centre in Crystal Palace park.
“The GLA agency who developed these options (CSM Strategic) has done so with very limited talking to the local groups, clubs and schools who use the NSC.
“Seb Coe, the executive chairman of CSM, is a world class ambassador for sport over many
“I for one don’t believe for a minute that any influence he may have over this process would ever support the total bulldozing of athletics from Crystal Palace, any more than the loss of other critical sports based at the centre.
“CPSP are aware that Lord Coe is maintaining a watching brief on developments and do not believe he would sit comfortably with an outcome leading to anything less than that which satisfies public demand at the Palace.
“And I am sure that will be the message he gives me when we meet next month.”
Mr Powell’s comments follow a summit meeting of politicians and key stakeholders at Crystal Palace where he condemned the public consultation process for the National Sports Centre (NSC) and the evidence base used to support the proposed development concept options as being ‘totally flawed’.
He said the proposed changes would devastate one of the most iconic sporting venues in Europe – the NSC at Crystal Palace – dating back 150 years to 1866.
A CPSP statement said: “Current GLA chosen plans for the National Sports Centre at Crystal Palace threaten to bulldoze the iconic athletics stadium and indoor training track, and re-purpose the other outdoor spaces and indoor hall areas, with no commitment to maintain the current range of sports, diving or gymnastics and multi-use event facilities.
“Emotions ran high at the meeting, from London Assembly Member representatives, local councilors, community groups and park stakeholders. “All voiced grave concern over the GLA’s NSC consultation processes, and proposed departures from a ‘Masterplan’ developed over several years after extensive public input.
“In the space of barely two weeks, the CPSP has seen the public consultation period extended from October 27th until 16th November, and has already attracted over 1400 signatures on its online petition.”
But Mr Powell says he is still stressing the urgency of further support and action.
“We still feel the public consultation period is way too short to reach the many thousands of individual and group users of the centre.
“The earlier strategic consultation with governing bodies has failed to appropriately engage with
any of the major or local stakeholders, and it is disappointing that only now are we beginning to
filter through worthwhile feedback to ‘CSM Strategic’, the company charged by the GLA with
compiling final recommendations.
“The combination of inadequate earlier consultation, coupled with GLA’s chosen options presented for public consideration, and the very short public consultation stage is compromising a fair assessment of the true usage and benefits of the NSC for sports and community wellbeing in the region.
“The current conceptual proposals could see athletics wiped off the map at Crystal Palace, while
other activities such as the diving centre of excellence, gymnastics and football could also
disappear, or have a catastrophic impact to current and long term Olympic youth training
programmes in the South London areas.
“We support a mixed-use sports and leisure centre at Crystal Palace – a sustainable facility
that is shared by the local community, schools, clubs and aspiring athletes at all levels.
“It should be a resource that caters for the needs of recreational users as much as it provides
for and supports the development of the next generation of Olympic athletes.”
CPSP website: @CPSP2020.com.
Crystal Palace Green party, in their letter to the GLA, say the athletics facilities are one of a kind in south London, and are an important part of south London’s Olympic Legacy.
“In 2012, welcoming the Brazilian team to the area, Boris Johnson said ‘Crystal Palace is a world renowned centre for sporting excellence’.
“We also note that the NSC and the various facilities in the main building and the Jubilee
stand are major employers and a tourism draw for the area.
“We understand that the methodology used to assess the level of usage was flawed. “We
have met young athletes who train on the tracks by slipping through open gates who
wouldn’t have been counted by CSM, and who were outraged at the GLA proposals.”