Bromley council and the Mayor of London agreed in 2014 to invest £2.4 million in improvements to Crystal Palace Park.
These improvements include: the building of a new cafe (set to open next year) and skatepark (already opened), landscaping and the removal of some disused structures, and the conservation of the Grade I listed dinosaurs and Grade II listed sphinxes. Work on the sphinxes has now been completed.
But many people are not aware of the regeneration plan, Lucy Hopkins, who chairs Friends of Crystal Palace Park, told the meeting. (Please see separate story above – Ed.)
“A lot of people had been shocked by the regeneration plan. “We feel the plans have been out there for a long time. “We thought everyone knew about them. “”But it was stark for me at the information event (held in the booking hall at Crystal Palace station) that many people didn’t know about this.
“There were questions about what was happening with the Chinese billionaire – was he still around?” (He’s not. Please see ‘further reading’ at end of this article – Ed.)
There were three key parts to the future of the park: new governance, the regeneration plan, and the sustainable business plan. There were concerns over ecology, the dinosaurs and housing.
Key projects in the park were the information centre and playground; the secret garden and events and the concert platform. They had a vision of rebuilding the information centre and getting more groups to use that space.
“And there’s just so much love for the concert platform – love the ‘rusty laptop’ or not. “The platform comes up so much as a subject- there’s a real desire to see it returned to use.
The Friends of Crystal Palace Park needed to take a bigger role with communications – they had launched a new website and were launching a community newsletter; with volunteering; with community development and with accountability.
“If you have events going on in the park let us know so we can put it on our website” she told the meeting in the Paxton centre.
Having set up as a CIO charitable incorporated organisation two years ago they could now have members who could join as an individual or an organisation.
Earlier, welcoming guests to the first meeting of the Crystal Palace Park Community Forum, Lucy said there had been a brilliant turnout.
“It shows there’s a really good need for this. “We’re going into a new management structure. “We don’t have things like the HEG (heritage environment group) or CSG (community support group) or the park working group anymore.
“We’ve lost some of the key community forums where we all got together and helped each other. “It’s about starting to try and work together again.
“London Wildlife Trust used to sit on the heritage environment group. “They feel they’re not feeding into the process.”
Noreen Meehan of the Crystal Palace Festival told Laurie Handcock and Hannah Jackson: “If you look to reach widely into our community we have mailing lists, we have Facebook groups. “You can reach much more people you may not reach.”
Closing the meeting Lucy Hopkins said there has been so much consultation but we still need to be communicating and feeding in. “This is a balance to make sure people are still involved.”
Further reading: DEMOLITION PLANS SHOCK FOR NURSERY OPERATORS – and a new building for ‘significant events’ on park’s terrace March 16, 2018
To view the Masterplan proposals please ‘Google’ Bromley.gov crystal palace park masterplan
Further info: info@crystalpalaceparkregeneration
Please see also: http://www.crystalpalacepark.org.uk
*In March 2015 it was revealed that Chinese developer Zhong Rong had wanted to acquire the entire top half of Crystal Palace park as part of their agreement with Bromley council. The council broke off negotiations.
NATIONAL SPORTS CENTRE
Patrick Dubeck, senior programme manager in the regeneration team at the Greater London Authority said that ever since they had taken over control of the sports centre it had been run by Greenwich Leisure who had another two years from the end of March to run on their contract.
They needed to think who the NSC would serve in the future – what people use it for and what they want to use it for, how the NSC served the needs of the local community and how does the NSC sit best with the park setting? There were all sorts of considerations they need to make.
There was a growing membership for gym use, a growing pool use, he told the meeting.
But UK Athletics had made it clear they would never hold large scale events there ever again.
Something would be published within the next six weeks, he told the meeting. A big brief was going out in the next few days to find consultants. “We are talking about a quite significant investment in the sports centre.
“The starting point for any strategy is about participation. “Crystal Palace is a facility that can serve the whole range of different sporting needs.”
It was also about making sure the sports centre is seen as part of the park rather than a fenced off bit in the park, he added. “There are fences that divide the place”.
Francis Bernstein of Crystal Palace Sports Partnership said previous consultations had seen things dropped from on high.
“Now, before decisions are made they are engaging with stakeholders and the wider community. “It’s a different start in a different way. “They need our help to make this work.”