SPORTS CENTRE CONSULTATION “BEING RUSHED TO HELP NEW SCHOOL IN PARK” -Green Party (GLA sports centre plans slammed – part five)
CONSULTATION over plans to build a new school on part of the sports arena in Crystal Palace park seems to be rushed to meet the timetable of the Crystal Palace free school, say Crystal Palace Green Party members.
Greater London Authority plans for the school, which has promised potential applicants it will be in a position to receive pupils in September next year, include building the new school – and Capel Manor College – on one side of the athletics track in the sports centre – or on both.
In a lengthy letter to GLA planners Crystal Palace Greens caution: “You must not damage the rest of the park in a rush to get this through.”
They are now calling on the GLA to:
publish the full options appraisal and the brief given to the consultants that produced it – along with any communications they have had with the school which highlight other potential sites for the school.
expand the timetable for consultation until at least February 2015, to include a much broader range of proposals, and to properly engage with the Crystal Palace Sports Partnership, the Crystal Palace Park Community Stakeholders Group and other local stakeholders in an open dialogue about the future of the NSC, the park and the wider area.
support the establishment of a Community Trust and a Neighbourhood Forum, and support them to take the lead in developing plans for the NSC, the park, and a long term vision for the Crystal Palace area and neighbouring places including Anerley and Penge.
Opposing the current proposed site in the middle of the park, the Greens say: “We do not think
this is an appropriate use for public parkland, nor a suitable and safe place for children to
be walking to and from a primary school.
“We are also concerned that it could further add to the traffic and congestion in the area
due to its distance from much of the catchment area.”
The Greens say that over the summer they conducted a study using diffusion tubes and found nitrogen dioxide levels at twice the legal limit on Crystal Palace Parade, and well above legal limits on other main roads near the park.
They add: “While the Green Party does not support free schools, we do recognise the need for more school places in the area and the limited options our local councils have to provide them.
“We also acknowledge the care that the founding group has put into avoiding many of the
problems with the free school policy, and the breadth and depth of their expertise in the
“So we would welcome plans that would provide a site for this new school in the local area.”
MASTERPLAN: The Greens say their biggest concern is that the proposed options break with the Masterplan for Crystal Palace park, both in landscaping detail and in the inclusion of a primary school where there was previously to be a grassed amphitheatre surrounding the athletics track.
“That Masterplan, while not perfect, took many years and a huge amount of public engagement
and debate to arrive at, and shouldn’t be so easily cast aside by this and other projects the
GLA is working on.
“The Masterplan proposed downgrading the sports facilities from national to regional importance. “Your proposals don’t adequately explain why you think they should be downgraded further to only being of local importance.
“It is not acceptable to make such a dramatic change and keep options appraisal – and the brief
given to CSM consultants which produced it – secret.
“The Masterplan tried to create a more cohesive feel to the park, but while some aspects of your proposal such as restoring the central axis will help, the new access road from the fisherman’s gate on Crystal Palace Park Road will make it worse.
“The options presented are very narrow. “There should be at least one option without a primary school, and more thought given to alternative future uses for the athletics facilities.
“The future of the NSC also needs to be considered in light of the park as a whole. “You
should be working with Bromley council to establish a community trust to manage the
entire park, and consider transferring ownership of your section of the park to this trust.
“The trust could use the options appraisal and other information you and Bromley council
hold to develop a business plan taking account of the costs and revenues associated with
all the facilities – the NSC, lodge, transmitter tower, cafe and concert bowl, Capel Manor
College, one-off events such as triathlons and fireworks displays, and so on.
“The trust could ensure this business plan builds on and implements the Masterplan to develop a coherent and improved park.
“The trust could also ensure that their priorities align with those of local residents and the
users of the various regionally important facilities.
“There are many small improvements that could be made to the footpaths, fences, gates, speed bumps and so on to make the park more permeable for people on foot and bike. “These, rather than such grand projects as the GLA is proposing, need better attention.”
GLA MEMBER CALLS FOR MAYOR TO PUBLISH SPORTS CENTRE PLANNING BRIEFS – see separate story.