THOUSANDS SIGN CINEMA PETITION
MORE THAN 2,860 people have signed a petition calling on Bromley council to turn down plans for a church and mixed use of the former cinema building at 25 Church Road in just a few days.
The petition has already hit the daily ‘top ten’ on a national online petition list – rising as high as sixth place on one day.
Signatories include Steve Reed, MP for Croydon North, actor Tom Goodman-Hill from TV’s ‘Mr Selfridge’ -and a Catholic priest.
Many of those who have signed highlight a number of reasons why they have done so – including the desire for a local cinema, the need for a cultural hub; and the large number of churches which already exist in the area.
Other issues people are raising include:
Guy Sawtell: “As a middle-aged, atheist, gay man, I know from bitter (and violent) experience that I would feel unwelcome, unsafe and intimidated if I was to try to use the facilities in the building while owned by an evangelical church who’s stated aim is ‘Taking Territories’.
“With the recent discovery that they have already installed a baptismal pool in the stage, the local community is feeling steamrollered and deceived by both the church and Bromley council.
“I cannot think that changing the designated use of the only large D2 building in the area into a church will do anything other than cause resentment and disgust with the planning process, and conflict and ill-feeling in the town.
“The current owners, KICC, have kept the doors firmly shut on this building right in the heart of the Triangle since their purchase, only very occasionally holding ‘celebration’ and ‘crossover’ meetings for their own congregation – who they bus in to the area – these seem to be evangelical religious services in all but name, which is against legal use of the building.
“We need community based (ie non-religious) use for the building – and returning it to use as a commercial cinema (not an occasional “cinema-club” as proposed) would not only bring footfall, revenue and employment to the area, it would mean this historic building is used on a daily basis – and open to all of the community, whatever their faith, beliefs, age, nationality or sexuality.”
Steve Reed MP for Croydon North: “There is insufficient parking space locally for the very large number of visitors who would come from outside the area if this change of use were permitted.”
Tom Goodman-Hill: “25 Church Road is a landmark building in Crystal Palace and is designed to be a cinema and a cultural entertainment centre. “It is not and should not ever be a place of worship.”
The Reverend Brian Passman: As a Catholic priest I see no need for another church in Crystal Palace. The Church going residents have plenty of choice. Least of all do we need a church which has to bus in its worshippers for lack of a local congregation.
“Jesus said, “Give unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and to God the things which are God’s,” thus clearly establishing the separation of the sacred and the secular. “25 Church Rd is a secular building. “Long may it remain so.
Richard Kingston: “Bromley should support national planning policy section 8 which advises local authorities to guard against the unnecessary loss of valued facilities and services, particularly where this would reduce the community’s ability to meet its day-to-day needs.
“Crystal Palace has plenty of churches and community centres already. “It does not have a functional D2 exclusive place of public entertainment.
“Bromley should also follow its own draft local plan (section 6.2) so that it is ‘supporting the provision and enhancement of sports and recreational facilities, especially where there are recognised deficiencies or where they present a tool for renewal and regeneration’. (v.encouraging the cultural and leisure use of the public realm.)”
Adam Harman: “Cinema users would in the main be drawn from the local population, whereas the applicants proposal for it as supporting as a regional hub. “The ‘territory’ it is trying to take across South London would flood regularly the area with traffic – cars and coaches.
“The council/committee should also note/be reminded of the fact that the applicant has breached, and continues to regularly breach, the planning use conditions pertaining to the site and regularly reconfirmed by Bromley council and planning committee.
“This is a clear indication that it should not be trusted to abide by any conditions the Council attached to this application.
“Through its actions it is clear that the applicant holds local democracy, genuine consolation, planning law and due process in contempt – it would be a tragedy for our community if Bromley council allowed these tactics/this approach to prove successful.”
Campaigners will be outside Sainsbury’s on Westow Street tomorrow (Saturday 10th) and again on Saturday 17th.