OFFICIAL STATISTICS BRANDED “INACCURATE” BY SPORTS CENTRE USERS
OFFICIAL STATISTICS showing the number of runners using Crystal Palace national sports centre have been branded ‘inaccurate” – after more than1,700 athletes used the track there in February.
The use contrasts with official figures of 10,134 individual uses in all of 2013, and 6,907 for the whole of 2012.
In spite of freezing temperatures in February over 1,700 athletes accessed the track facilities, in an audit organised in partnership with ‘Better’ (GLL, who manage the CPNSC).
The audit, which brought together figures from ‘bulk users’ (athletic membership clubs), ‘Better’ members, and individual users alike, was instigated by the Crystal Palace Sports Partnership (CPSP) in response to figures* published by CSM Strategic, which formed part of the Mayor of London’s 2014 consultation on the CPNSC.
Plans proposed by the GLA could see the indoor track demolished with no alternative facility being provided, and just the outside track remaining with no supporting stadium infrastructure, say CPSP.
“We instigated a month-long usage audit of both tracks to provide an insight into how many athletes could be affected, and the impact the plans could have” explained a CPSP spokeswoman.
CPSP chairman John Powell said, ‘I am really grateful to GLL for engaging in a second audit of athletics facility usage rates at Crystal Palace.
“It is very clear that usage figures, which increase substantially during the summer months, are far higher than indicated in the CSM interim report, which stated 10,134 individual uses in 2013, and 6,907 in 2012.
“The stadium and indoor track area are very well used, and coaches based there are devastated at the possibility of not having any indoor area to train in.
“How on earth can you manage a decent speed/power event group in the British winter when they have to ‘warm up’ in minus temperatures? “It would be a devastating blow to the sport, and the athletes and coaches concerned.”
Over 300 athletes from South London Harriers (SLH) alone took to the tracks during the audit, a club based at the CPNSC for the last 24 years, and the fourth oldest athletics club in the UK.
South London Harriers president Mike Mein said: “The loss of the year round indoor and outdoor track training and event facilities, which are served by a first class integrated transport hub, would have a devastating impact on grassroots athletics locally, and mean the loss of invaluable club volunteers who have worked tirelessly to make community athletics a success for everyone.
“We pride ourselves in offering coaching in all athletic disciplines to the hugely diverse local community encompassing Bromley, Lambeth, Southwark, Croydon and Lewisham.’
“A loss of facilities would also have a devastating impact on regularly held events, such as the recent AgeUK 10m run, South of England AA Championships, Harris Academy sports day, and the London Youth Games, whose usage has not been included in the audit.”
CPSP chairman John Powell continues: “If the GLA’s proposals take place, athletics will be decimated in south London.
“Generations to come will have lost a facility, which historically has produced innumerable world class athletes and eventual Olympians.
“When will there be a joined up approach with Sport England for planning sporting facilities? “Where is the vision for a community multi-sport hub?
“There are tremendous opportunities to enhance the centre, which is a fantastic multi-purpose event and spectator centre for indoor and outdoor sports from grassroots to elite, but I have yet to see the appetite for this amid those in a position to influence.
“With the launch of London Sport, a joint initiative between The Mayor of London and Sport England, whose aim is to make ‘London the most physically active city on the planet’, I fail to understand why the Mayor of London would be prepared to oversee the permanent downgrading of facilities at one of the most iconic sporting venues in Europe.”
*CPNSC Development Options Appraisal Interim Report 2014,