A new Crystal Palace Park Trust is just weeks away, the first meeting of the Crystal Palace Park Community Forum has heard.
Laurie Handcock, local resident who chairs the existing shadow trust board which is set to morph into the trust, said its formation would see the start of a series of proper discussions about taking the park over from Bromley.
“It’s a very good park that needs a lot of work that needs to be carried out by the council” he told representatives from many local organisations at the Paxton centre, Anerley Hill on Tuesday.
“Some of the areas such as the terraces need a lot of work. “It’s a phased programme to make sure we’re not losing the park for eight years.
“The dinosaurs are in a parlous state.
“The subway underneath Crystal Palace Parade is in a parlous state.
“The terraces are in an unbelievably parlous state.”
Mr Handcock said the area is the first place he has lived where people believe in their park – and he included the people of Penge and Sydenham in that.
“We’ve spent a lot of time doing tedious things like business plans. “The next year will be where we are much more engaged in present things. “That’s a real challenge for us.
“We’re in for a very long haul – we know that.”
Hannah Jackson, Bromley’s acting head of culture while her colleague is on maternity leave, said Bromley had taken the park over from the former Greater London Council in 1986 but had not been able to provide the resources. Following the introduction of the Masterplan for the park in the previous decade it was not always clear where the money to fund the park was coming from.
Regeneration had always focused on the top site and that had not always been possible. After the Chinese plans had fallen through the council had started to look again at the park and thought there was a way of bringing something forward in spite of the Masterplan.
That was where the regeneration plan had come from. So the shadow trust board was born. Management and maintenance would be transferred over. Income generated would be for the park.
Regeneration would be phased with completion in 2025. “But we need to release the money to deliver the improvements. “The assumption is that we will be handing over the park in 2022 / 2023. “But they are very indicative dates at this stage.”
An outline planning application is being submitted this Spring, she added.
Answering questions Hannah Jackson said: “We need to be able to move the capital from the residential to fund the improvements in the park. “We’re currently working with the director of legal services to ensure these contributions are kept within the park.”
The original Masterplan planning permission did not have affordable housing. The Mayor of London has a policy on how much a developer will deliver.
“If we had to deliver 50 per cent affordable housing it would not be worth doing the scheme. “The value of the land would be reduced so much we would be looking at a very small return.”If we cannot release capital receipts from the building development we don’ty have very far to go.”
Asked what percentage of capital receipts would go towards the park and if they were ring-fenced, Hannah Jackson said all the capital receipts except some taken under section 106 for education and health care would be ring-fenced.
Asked if the housing would pay for everything Hannah Jackson said it would pay for everything except the cultural venue on the board being displayed at the meeting. (the same type of board was displayed at the information event in the booking hall at Crystal Palace station – Ed.)
Receipts from the housing would not pay for the full cost of restoring the terraces but there would be enough to do works which would get the terraces taken off the ‘at risk’ register. And perhaps there would be some seed funding to do additional work in the future, she added.